I know, another recipe for hummus, but this one has a secret ingredient that lifts it out of the ordinary. I got the idea from my friend Jane O’B, who makes the best hummus I’ve ever eaten. Her husband makes the world’s best meatloaf, too, but that’s another story.
So – the secret is roasted garlic. Roasting transforms the bulbs from eye-wateringly pungent to sweet, melting and subtle, so more-ish even a vampire would be tempted to switch diets. Try it and see.
If you’re roasting one head of garlic, you may as well do half a dozen. I used loads in this hummus recipe but in any case the resulting paste keeps in the fridge for up to a week and can be frozen for up to three months. You can use it in salad dressings, sauces, dips or just spread it onto good bread.
Hummus With Roasted Garlic
Serious hummus aficionados would argue that you should use dried chickpeas, duly soaked and cooked, and in an ideal world I’d probably agree.
But one of the joys of hummus, for me, is that you can whip it up quickly from store cupboard ingredients (apart from roasting the garlic, which of course from now on you will always have on hand in the fridge). I prefer bottled chickpeas, which tend to be less slushy than the tinned variety, but use whatever works for you.
You can use old or new-season garlic. I stole some of the bulbs Him Outdoors grew, fresh from the garden.
200g tinned or bottled chickpeas
2 tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)
2 heaped tspn roasted garlic paste (or to taste)
1 tspn ground cumin
80-100 ml tahini paste (to taste – I prefer the smaller quantity as it’s not so overpowering)
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp good olive oil
To serve: a sprinkling of paprika or za’atar and a few whole chickpeas
First, roast the garlic. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.
Remove most of the papery bits on the outside but keep the bulbs whole. Slice the tops off the bulbs so the cloves are exposed, put them in a roasting tin and drizzle each bulb with 2 tspn olive oil. Let it sink in between the cloves, then re-anoint with another teaspoonful apiece.
Cover tightly with kitchen foil and roast for around an hour. The cooking time depends on the size and freshness of the garlic, so start checking after 40 minutes. They’re done when they’re caramelised and golden and soft enough that you can pierce the heart of the cloves with the tip of a knife. Mine took 90 minutes. Like watching paint dry but with a better smell.
Allow to cool enough to handle then squeeze the cloves and the roasted garlic should just pop out. Squeeze them into a bowl and mash them into a paste.
Now for the hummus. Before you start, stir any oil floating on the jar of tahini back into the paste.
Measure out your tahini into a bowl, then stir the lemon juice into it, a tip for which I’m obliged to Paula Wolfert via Felicity Cloake. The tahini will stiffen but your hummus will be the lighter for it. Don’t ask me how this works, but it does.
Put the tahini into a food processor with the remaining ingredients (except the paprika or za’atar). Blend to a puree – it’s a matter of taste whether it’s a rough puree or creamier – I like a bit of texture.
Check the seasoning and add more lemon juice, roasted garlic and salt to taste, then scrape into a bowl.
To serve, make a squirl in the centre of the hummus with the back of a spoon, drizzle with a little more olive oil and scatter with the reserved chickpeas (if, unlike me, you remembered to keep some back) and paprika or za’atar. Scoop it up with pitta or flatbreads or use as a dip with raw vegetables.