Monday, January 7, 2013

hummus kawarma (with lamb).

Apparently, my mom does read my blog! (Yes, I sometimes worry that all the people who I think love me never read it. *Cough* Tyler *Cough*) But mama bear does read it and I discovered this on Christmas morning when I opened one my presents and there lay the Jerusalem cookbook that I put on my wish list!  (I also got the gold wishbone, which sadly looked not nearly as wonderful as it did online.)  I have spent the better part of my evenings reading all the recipes, book marking pages, and making supermarket lists like a mad woman in preparation for an Israeli cooking binge.  I deemed it necessary to start with the most classic of dishes hummus, solely because the first the first time I made homemade hummus, I missed the tiny but very important step of cooking the chickpeas after the overnight soak (I have the tendency to speed read).  I called my Mom in a panic saying my hummus was grainy and chunky.  It was only after her going through all the steps with me that I realized I miss the crucial step of cooking the chickpeas.  Lesson learned the hard way.  (Also throwing out 6 cups of chunky hummus is very messy and very not fun.)  I feel I finally conquered my hummus demons because this hummus is ridiculously good - unbelievably creamy and rich.  The lamb “topping” is also excellent (all those spices!), it takes the hummus from side dish status to meal status.  Throw in a bowl of olives, a chunk of feta, several warm and fluffy pits, and some cucumber salad and you my dream meal. 

Recipe adapted from Jerusalem

I decreased the amount of tahini recommended in the original recipe because as much as I love tahini it was too much for me.  I am going to say this again as well, this is the best hummus I have ever eaten.

1 ½ cups/250 grams dried chickpeas
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ½ cups/1.5 liters water
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons tahini paste
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
6 ½ tablespoons/100 ml ice-cold water

The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight. 

The next day drain the chickpeas.  Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface.  The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer.  Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy. 

Drain the chickpeas.  You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups/600 grams now.  Place the chickpeas in the food processor and process until you get a stiff paste.  Then with the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt.  Finally slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a smooth and creamy paste. 

Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.  If you are not using the hummus until later, refrigerate it but make sure you take the hummus out of the fridge 30 minutes before eating.

Kawarma (Lamb)
Recipe adapted from Jerusalem

This lamb is really good.  It’s sweet but not in a sugary way.  It’s sweet from the spices (most of these spices we usually associate with baked goods in the US so it’s interesting to eat it in a savory application).  I wanted a little hint of heat so I added in some urfa chiles.  (I love a little heat with sweet.) The lemon sauce really ties the whole thing together and the pine nuts give a nice little crunch!

10 ½ oz/300 grams ground lamb
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon urfa chilies
Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon crushed za’atar or oregano leaves
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil

Lemon Sauce

1/3 oz/10 grams flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ - 1 teaspoon urfa chili
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 large clove of garlic or 2 small cloves, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts for garnish

To make the kawarma, place all the ingredients apart from the oil in a medium bowl.  Mix well, cover, and allow the mixture to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Just before you are ready to cook the meat, place all the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a bowl (except the pine nuts), and stir well. 

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the meat, and stir as you cook each batch for 3-4 minutes.  The meat should be very light pink in the middle. 

Place the hummus on a platter and make a hollow in the center of the hummus.  Spoon the warm kawarma into the hollow.  Drizzle generously with the lemon sauce and garnish with the pine nuts.  Serve with toasted pita. 

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