Sunday, June 12, 2016

Garlic And Caramelized Onion Hummus

I make hummus throughout the year but especially enjoy it in the summer. It is the perfect way to enjoy healthier snacks or even as a full meal. When I know the weather forecast is going to be too hot to turn on the oven for a few days, I often try to make up a recipe of hummus and maybe some pita chips a day or so before the heat really sets in. Then, when it is hot. I'll cut up a bunch of fresh veggies, add some crackers or pita chips and a big scoop of hummus in the middle of the plate to enjoy for my lunch or dinner! YUM!

A few years ago, I came across a recipe for "Lick The Bowl Clean Hummus" on Taste Of Home. It had lots of onion, garlic and lemon in it and sounded like a great flavour combo to me!
I don't make a lot of recipes where I have to caramelize the onions. I love the taste of them but it is a process that must be done slowly and stirred often to truly get the best flavour. Sometimes, I just don't have the patience to go through that process no matter how good the end result! That being said, I made an exception for this recipe and I'm glad I did!
Naturally, I made a few changes along the way!

The original recipe called for 2 large sweet onions such as Vidalia. They are a fair bit more expensive, so I used medium cooking onions which I almost always have on hand and added a bit of brown sugar once they started to cook. When the onions were done, I transferred them to the  bowl of the food processor to cool while I deglazed the pan with the lemon juice to make sure I got every morsel of yummy flavour! I added lemon zest for extra oomph.

Speaking of the lemon juice, the original recipe called for 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons which is actually 6 Tablespoons in total. Normally, I love lemon in my hummus but this amount seemed to overshadow the onion and even the garlic. The next time I made it, I reduced the amount of the juice to 4 Tablespoons and added the zest for a much better balance in flavours.

Some hummus recipes recommend roasting the garlic as well. I guess I could have, but frankly I love the taste of garlic so went with the fresh garlic! If you aren't as fond of garlic as I am, you could roast it, toss it in with the onions for the last minute or so of cooking or just add less - the choice is yours.

The other change I made, was to cut back on the olive oil. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup to caramelize the onions in plus up to 1/3 cup added while processing the hummus to the desired consistency. I felt that was way too much oil - even for something as healthy as extra virgin olive oil. So, I used 2 Tablespoons while cooking the onions which was more than enough and an additional 2 Tablespoons in the processing for a total of 1/4 cup. I replaced the additional olive oil with water as needed to get the right consistency - thick but not runny yet easy to use as a dip or spread. I generally add about 1-2 Tablespoons but it can vary from batch to batch so add a little then process a few seconds and add more if needed.

Tahini tends to separate so be sure to stir it well - making sure to dig down to the bottom of the container and along the sides to get the paste and oil to combine thoroughly before measuring. Store opened containers of Tahini in the fridge for up to a year.

This is a very flavourful hummus. It is strong in taste with a bit of a bite thanks to the fresh lemon and raw garlic but goes well with crackers, pita chips and raw veggies.. If you aren't big on lemon, you could use half lemon juice and half water but I'd still recommend adding the zest! I also highly recommend that you make this the day before you wish to serve it as it allows the flavours to blend even more and mellow just a touch!
If you want to make your own Pita Chips, the recipe is included at the bottom of the post for Lemon Basil Garlic Hummus. You may also like my Sweet Potato Hummus and my Roasted Red Pepper And Cashew Hummus.

Garlic And Caramelized Onion Hummus
3 medium onions quartered lengthwise then thinly sliced (about 3 1/2 - 4 cups)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 can (540ml/19ounce) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
I large or 2 small lemon(s)
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped (about a Tablespoon)
1/4 cup tahini
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Baked pita chips, crackers and/or assorted fresh vegetables

In a large skillet, sauté onions in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until softened. Stir in the brown sugar and combine to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes or until deep golden brown.
Meanwhile, zest the lemon(s) - you should get about 1 Tablespoon zest. Set aside. Juice the lemon(s), removing seeds and measure. If you have less than 4 Tablespoons top it off with some bottled lemon juice or add water to make up the difference.

Once the onions are caramelized, turn off the heat and transfer the onions to the bowl of the food processor to cool. While they are cooling, pour the lemon juice into the skillet and stir just enough to deglaze the pan. Pour the lemon juice and drippings into the food processor with the onions.
When the onions have cooled completely, add the chickpeas, lemon zest, tahini, garlic, salt, pepper and 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Cover and pulse for a few seconds - repeat 4 or 5 times then process until smooth - about a minute or so depending on the power of your processor. If the hummus is too dry, add a little water - a teaspoon or so at a time and process to desired consistency. (I generally end up adding about 1-2 Tablespoons but this amount can vary depending on your ingredients and how thick you want your hummus to be.)

Transfer the hummus to a container and cover. Refrigerate several hours or preferably overnight before serving to allow the flavours to blend more and mellow ever so slightly.
Serve with crackers. pita chips and/or raw veggies. Yield2-1/2 cups.

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