Hummus is filling, deliciously tasty and so easy to make at home. Perfect for eating as a snack with some warm home-baked flatbread (another blog post), used as a spread for sandwiches or served with grills, barbecued meats or chicken. We all love hummus in our family and we sometimes love to top hummus with minced lamb cooked with sweet spices and pine nuts, then garnish the dish with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and olive oil, this is one of our favourite mezze dishes when dining at a Lebanese restaurant.
With the help of a food processor/blender it only takes a couple of minutes to make up a bowlful of hummus… it’s the soaking and cooking of dried chickpeas that takes time. Canned chickpeas are a handy store cupboard ingredient when you don’t have the time to use dried chickpeas or can’t be bothered.
In Bahrain we have many Al Khabbaz bakeries dotted all around the island that make wonderful flatbread (khoubz) and cook perfectly soft chickpeas (nakhi), you can buy them by the bagful and are sold along with some of the hot cooking liquid… we are lucky to have such a bakery just around the corner from our house. I usually buy the cooked chickpeas from the Al Khabbaz, but have used canned chickpeas, which also make a very acceptable hummus.
When making hummus you can adjust the flavors to suit your taste, by adding or reducing the amount of tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice and garlic in the recipe. Also, if you like a more textured hummus, then process or blend accordingly. Apparently, removing the skins from the cooked chickpeas makes a much creamier hummus and if you wish to spend time doing so you might want to try the method in this video, it does seem a lot easier than popping the skin of each cooked chickpea between your finger and thumb as some suggest. Do you remove the skin of cooked chickpeas when making hummus?
Hummus Topped with Lamb, Pine Nuts and Pomegranate Molasses
for the hummus:
- 500g of cooked Chickpeas (reserve some of the cooking liquid)
- 2 x 450g canned chickpeas, drain and rinse
- 4 tablespoons of cold water (or use the reserved cooking liquid from the cooked chickpeas)
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons of tahini (shake or stir container to incorporate the oil before measuring)
for the lamb
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 200g of coarsely minced leg of lamb
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- a pinch of ground cinnamon
- a pinch of ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons of lightly toasted pine nuts
- salt, to taste
- pomegranate molasses
- pomegranate kernels (optional)
- olive oil
- freshly chopped parsley
How to make: Add the chickpeas and cooking liquid or water into a food processor, process until puréed. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and add the garlic, salt, tahini and lemon juice. Process for a few minutes until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended (scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once) and the hummus has a creamy consistency. You may need to add a little more water if the consistency is too thick. Check the seasoning and adjust the flavours if needed. Set aside while making the minced lamb topping.
In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and sauté until the meat is completely browned and caramelized, stirring continuously. Break up any large clumps of minced lamb with the back of a fork. Stir in the lemon juice and cook until most of the lemon juice has evaporated. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Next add in the cinnamon, allspice and pine nuts and cook for a further minute. Remove pan from heat and season the lamb with salt, to taste.
Spoon hummus into a large shallow bowl or six small mezze plates. Spread the hummus into a circle with the back of a dessert spoon. Top the center of the hummus with the lamb or divide equally between individual plates. Drizzle over a little pomegranate molasses and olive. Garnish with some pomegranate kernels and chopped parsley. Serve immediately with warm flatbread.
Note: If serving hummus without the lamb topping, garnish with some chickpeas, a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle over some paprika and chopped parsley. Serve at room temperature.