Alright, so I knew that this time of year was coming. I don’t know if it’s a Mid-Atlantic thing, what with our warm and humid autumn weather, but hot peppers grow like CRAZY in Maryland and my CSA haul illustrates this. Week after week, I lug home a SACKFUL of hot peppers. The obvious limitation to eating multiple pounds of hot peppers in a week is that well, the world has only a limited supply of handkerchiefs to deal with all the spicy food-induced noseblowing.
Over time I have discovered various ways to tame the spiciness of these noble beasts, or to preserve them for use in the winter.
The foremost and best way to tone down the heat so that more of these peppers can be incorporated into a serving of food is to roast or grill them. My approach for this hummus is sort of a blend of these two; I dry-roast them on a high heat until blackened, turn down the heat and cook for some time more until soft, then remove the skins and get to work. It’s pretty dang easy and the flavor of char-roasted jalapenos is, as Guy Fieri might say, “out of bounds”. Blended into a fairly classic hummus with amped-up lemon notes, they offer a creeping, mellow heat that pleases the palate of a spice enthusiast without destroying the palate of a wimp.
I’m just so happy to be using my oven again – it seems like we have finally escaped our crazy heat wave and into the 70’s and 80’s.
I kept the oil level fairly low in this hummus – I’m looking for ways to reduce my fat intake here and there and reach an optimal level of carbohydrates in my diet. If this isn’t a concern for you then additional olive oil will produce a silkier final product. As it stands, with relatively little oil, this hummus is PERFECT for spreading on sandwiches because it has a lot of structure to it. You can also thin out your hummus with the chickpea cooking liquid, or with warm water.
Charred Jalapeno Lemon Hummus
Makes a few cups – it’s hard to measure something when you are stuffing it in your face
About 5 medium-sized jalapenos
2 tb tahini
Juice and zest of two lemons
2-4 cloves of fresh garlic, roughly chopped
1-2 tb olive oil
2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed well
1 tb red wine vinegar
1/4 – 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tb ground cumin seed
1/2 tb ground coriander seed
Freshly ground black pepper & salt, to taste
(optional) fresh parsley, for serving
Place jalapenos on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or until skins are blistered and pulling away from flesh; rotate peppers once or twice during baking. When this is achieved, turn down the oven to 300 degrees and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until peppers are quite soft. Optionally, you could instead char the jalapenos by placing them directly onto the stove (if your stove is not electric), then finish them in oven – you will need more like 20-25 minutes.
While the peppers are cooling, combine tahini, lemon juice and zest, and garlic in a food processor or blender, until fully blended. Add olive oil and about a third of the chickpeas; continue blending and adding more chickpeas and liquid (red wine vinegar, vegetable broth) until smooth.
When the peppers have cooled, their skins should pull off very easily. Discard the skins and roughly chop up the jalapenos, then add them to the food processor along with any remaining chickpeas, until fully blended. Adjust levels of olive oil and broth or water to reach your own desired consistency. Stir in cumin, coriander seed, salt, and pepper, and check for seasonings (if it needs acid, add more red wine vinegar or lemon juice). Serve, optionally, with chopped fresh parsley and raw red onion.
This hummus tastes best after being refrigerated overnight, is great as a spread on sandwiches or as a dip, and will keep for at least a week in the fridge.