I am easily excitable when it comes to food. In other aspects of my life as well, passion is my North Star. When something just feels right, I tend to try and steer my ship in that general direction. It’s a magnetic pull, really. Things could be no other way than what they are. Now we arrive at the ever-elusive point: the hummus. Not your traditional hummus, oh no, this is a special sort of hummus. It is intoxicating and rich and downright wonderful, something that you’ll want to make over and over again on those days that things just aren’t going your way and you’d just kill for an ingestible that won’t make your stomach swell to the point of no return.
Hot smoked Spanish paprika is my secret weapon. Anything it touches turns to a groan-inducing bit of culinary gold. Guests close their eyes and solemnly ask “What is this?” Veggies, meats, beans, stews, soups, hell, I’m sure molecular gastronomy has found a way to use its seductive powers to its advantage in dessert. The Spice House here in Chicago sells the best variety of it I’ve ever encountered, and for just a few dollars, you’d be silly not to support such a fabulous family business.
Smoky Carrot Hummus
1 pound carrots, rinsed
1 cup garbanzo beans
1/2 cup olive oil + more if necessary
juice of one lemon (about 3-4 tablespoons)
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika + extra for serving
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp hot chile powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop carrots into large chunks and place in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a few healthy pinches of salt. Toss to coat. Spread on a baking tray and roast for 45 minutes; until carrots are fork-tender. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
2.) In the bed of a food processor, add the garbanzo beans, 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, sesame seeds, garlic, spices, and salt. Process until most of the large chunks have been mashed up, adding more olive oil if necessary.
3.) Once the carrots have cooled, add them to the processor along with the rest of the olive oil. Process until smooth, adding more olive oil if necessary. Serve garnished with a sprinkling of paprika and whole wheat pita chips.