This recipe was instigated by my high school photography teacher, Joe Swayze, who I’d not been in touch with since high school, approximately 3 to 4 decades ago. About a year and a half ago I reconnected with his wife Joanna, who reached out to me on Instagram. I mentioned how I’d found my way back to art photography after a long hiatus (of approximately 3 to 4 decades) and how nice it was to be connected again to her and Joe.
Not long afterwards, I received a typed & handwritten letter from Joe, filling me in a little on his photography practice, along with a handprinted cyanotype (a favorite photographic technique I have talked about here before):
Toward the end of the letter, he mentioned how much he liked the hummus recipe that I’d developed for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, aside from the fact that he found it a tad too garlicky, and he wondered how to avoid that. Rather that simply responding that he could use fewer cloves (which probably would have been sufficient), I instead decided to rethink the recipe entirely, a process that took more than a year to complete.
The flavor and ultra-smooth texture of the resulting recipe is very similar to the CI one, aside from the fact that it has but one garlic clove in it, which I hope is minimal enough to satisfy Joe’s tastes (if not, Joe, just leave it out entirely!) The method is both greatly simplified and more versatile, since you have options for what type of chickpea to start with and how to cook them. And the flavor and consistency are adjustable according to your preferences, which is why I call it “Hummus Your Way”: Flavor-wise, I think it is perfect as-is, but I give advice on how to make adjustments if you prefer something punchier. And as for consistency, sometimes I like it thick and moundable (especially when I want to top it like in the image above, with the Armenian spiced walnut dip I am teaching in my upcoming pita & lavash class), and sometimes I want something pourable; both are easily achieved by adjusting the amount of chickpea cooking liquid you add back.
Here are the specs in a bit more detail:
This recipe gives you three options for the chickpeas: dried and soaked, dried and unsoaked, and canned.
And two options for cooking them: Pressure cooker/instant pot or stovetop. I skipped stovetop/from-dried here just because it would have added too many steps, but I link to another reliable recipe if that is the way you roll. I much prefer cooking beans in my instant pot, not only because it is fast and reliable, but because pressure cooking beans essentially pasteurizes them, which means they keep in the fridge for ages. (I usually make my beans in double or triple batches, for various uses.)
It also creates an ultra-smooth hummus without needing to remove the skins. (What’s the secret? Cook the hell out of them and then blend them while hot.)
Unlike most recipes, it’s doable in a blender, which is less messy for hummus-making than a food processor, since you fold in the consistency-tightening tahini in a bowl by hand at the end. (You can also use a food processor if that is all you have.)
Finally, as I mentioned above, it is flavor- and texture-agnostic: You can adjust the final texture by adding more chickpea cooking liquid (I often do), and you can punch up the final flavor by adding more lemon juice, cumin, tahini, or olive oil as you see fit. (If you prefer your hummus more garlicky than Joe does, you’ll need to add more next time you make it, since the garlic goes in at the start of blending.)
I hope you like it as much as I do, let me know in the comments below if you make it!