Sunday, 21 September 2014

Chestnut hummus


400g chickpeas (dried or canned), 1 bulb garlic, olive oil, 1/2 can chestnut puree plus lemon juice, sesame seeds/tahini and paprika to taste.

Preparation: 30 minutes (canned) 1hr 45 plus overnight soaking (dried)

I love Merchant Gourmet's chestnut puree. I use it to thicken my vegetarian gravy, soups and stews but it wasn't until recently that I ever had leftovers to decide what to do with. And lo, yet another variation on hummus! This also works beautifully as a vegetarian pate if you pack down into a container and allow to chill in the fridge.

1) Roast the entire bulb of garlic at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Squeeze the garlic puree gently from the cloves and add to your food processor.

2) If you are using dried chickpeas leave them to soak in cold water for a minimum of 6 hours (ideally 10-12) and cook them for 1 1/2 hours, changing the water frequently to avoid a bitter aftertaste.

3) If using canned chickpeas drain them and rinse well. It's entirely your choice whether you shell the chickpeas first - personally I prefer the texture with them shelled and find the process (pinching gently then shucking) very soothing! To avoid shelling them you can add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to the water and boil them for 5 minutes - the shells will be so soft that you won't even notice them when pureed.

4) Place the chickpeas and the chestnut puree into your blender and pulse thoroughly, drizzling olive oil through until the desired texture has been reached

5) Flavour to taste with lemon juice, tahini/sesame oil/sesame seeds and season with salt and a pinch of smoked paprika. Stir through and serve or store in the fridge.

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