Baharat Spiced Beef Hummus

Baharat Spiced Beef Hummus

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After writing an Israeli cookbook and working with Chef Todd Ginsberg at one of his restaurants, Yalla, you could say that I have somewhat of an obsession with hummus. It’s an art form. I wouldn’t be surprised if war broke out in the Middle East, not because of politics, but because of hummus. Who makes it best, where you can get the best plate in Yaffo or Jerusalem, more tahini, less  tahini… People in Israel and surrounding areas are very passionate about their hummus.

Classically, you’ll find tahini, stewed chickpeas, lamb, beef, or eggs on hummus. Less traditionally, you can have hummus with roasted beets, stewed tomatos (matbucha), charred eggplant, spiced carrots, tabbouleh… the list goes on. Thanks to people like Michael Solomonov and Todd Ginsberg, we can now find restaurants like Dizengoff and Yalla here in the states. Alon Shaya is also doing some really incredible things with hummus in New Orleans at his restaurant Shaya as well.

Now, I am not a hummus expert. I have family friends in New Jersey that spent a month with a hummusiya, hummus restaurant, in Jerusalem just to study the art of making hummus and they’re not experts either. What I learned is that hummus requires love and attention through the whole process. Soaking, boiling, and processing. You have to find the best ingredients possible. Especially the tahini paste. That is what will give the hummus a lot of that deep flavor that you find in a good hummus. I also believe that good hummus doesn’t come from canned beans. Even though I’ve already written a quick hummus recipe on this blog using canned beans… => I’m a hypocrite.

Don’t rush this process! It’s worth it. And just a recommendation: eat the hummus right after making it. The longer hummus sits, the more it ferments and the more gas you’ll have after eating it. I personally don’t save hummus for more than a few hours. You can keep it in an air tight container over night but… you’ve been warned.


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[one_third]1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup tahini
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2-3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of all spice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb ground chuck (beef)
1/4 cup pine nuts
olive oil
roasted sesame seeds
black sesame seeds
grilled pita or warm laffa[/one_third][two_third_last]Place the dried chickpeas in a large glass or plastic bowl and cover with at least 6 cups of cool water. Leave on the counter top for at least 12 hours or over night. Drain and change the water out at least once, no earlier than 2 hours after the soak starts. Try and change the water out at least twice though the hummus will be delicious if you forget to do so.

Place the soaked chickpeas in a large stock pot and cover with 8-10 cups of water. There should be at least 3-inches of water above the chickpeas. Add the baking soda and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, it will begin to foam. You want to skim away all that foam. That’s “dirty water”. Boil for 2 minutes while skimming. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes. It should be an active simmer where you can see the chickpeas moving around with the water as it simmers. There really isn’t a need to stir the chickpeas while they cook. You should be able to mash the chickpeas with your fingers when they’re ready. Turn the heat off and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, drain the chickpeas SAVING AT LEAST A HALF CUP OF COOKING LIQUID! Make sure to drain the chickpeas as well as possible to be sure that you get a nice thick hummus. Place the chickpeas in a food processor. Process until a thick paste forms, about a minute of two. Add the garlic clove and process again until smooth. Add the tahini, lemon juice, cumin and salt and process again on high. If the hummus is too thick, slowly stream in a little of the chickpea cooking liquid to loosen it up. You may not need to add any liquid at all. Check the consistency of this hummus before adding too much liquid. It should be super smooth with the texture of soft served ice cream. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and lemon juice.

For the beef, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions when hot and sauté for 4-5 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, salt and pepper. Sauté for about a minute to release the oils and aromas from the spices. Add the beef and break it up as it browns. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the beef is cooked through and browned nicely. Mix in the pine nuts and cook for another minute. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Plate the hummus on 2 serving dishes and create a well in the middle. Place some of the beef right in the middle of the well. Garnish with olive oil, tahini paste, paprika, roasted sesame seeds and black sesame seeds. Serve immediately with pita or laffa. Enjoy![/two_third_last]