30 March 2014

A Bean Dip Primer - and how not to tell lies!

Following my previous post I was having a chat with a FB friend of mine, Marcus, waxing lyrical about lovely black garlic. He suggested adding some to hummus which inspired my sudden lunch using up some leftover white beans.

I puréed together 90g of leftover white beans, 30ml olive oil and 3 cloves of black garlic and seasoned the result, being particularly generous with black pepper and here it is with an entirely appropriate balsamic glaze drizzle.

Incidentally I should like to draw your attention to the lettuce in this picture, it is 5 days past its best before date and doing most awfully well, don’t you think? Crispy and fresh and yummy.

Even more incidentally I have just started following @BBDate on Twitter. This is a student studying food science who believes the law on Best Before Dates should be changed to save waste! He/she is doing a survey on our opinions on this so if you fancy filling it in you know what to do or read more here.

Back on subject – hummus-like dishes are a great way of using up all kinds of leftover legumes but it is just not right to actually call all these dips, spreads and purées “hummus” as this means chickpea in Arabic (حمّص) so you would be lying.

Basic Guidelines for a Bean Dip

1 tin beans of your choice, drained and rinsed
OR equivalent in cooked beans – about 250g
* garlic in some form or another
olive oil and/or cooking liquid or stock

~   Put the beans plus other flavourings (garlic, herbs, spices, cooked vegetables etc.) into your food processor or liquidiser.
~   Run the processor whilst drizzling in your choice of liquid and/or oil to achieve a smooth (or chunky if you prefer!) purée.
~   Taste and season.

* Of course all bean purées are the better for garlic in some form or other; fresh, smoked, black , roasted or wild garlic (coming soon – yippee!)

Bespoke Suggestions for different beans …

~   White Beans/Cannellini Beans go particularly well with lemon juice, olive oil. black pepper, cayenne and fresh tasting herbs.
~   Black Beans, being used a lot in Latin America, are good with fresh garlic, chilli (smoky chipotle is nice), fresh coriander, cumin, lime juice, Serve with tortilla chips to continue the theme.
~   Kidney Beans also have Latin American associations so add cumin, chilli, lemon or lime, a little tomato past perhaps, fresh coriander and so on.
~   Chickpeas (حمّص) – adding tahini will entitle you to call the dish Hummus bi Tahini, you need about 1½ tbsp per 250g chickpeas, plus garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Oddly enough peanut butter makes a different but pleasant substitute for tahini. Other tasty additions are a little yogurt, harissa, cumin and other Middle Eastern flavours. Serve with pita chips. Just for old times’ sake here is a picture of my roasted garlic hummus with black olive salad as I used to serve it at the Tamarind Club in Tortola years ago (and I think they still do).

 Cooked Fresh Peas and Beans can also be used this way …

~   Broad Beans go well with bacon fat instead of olive oil plus bits of bacon and with dill.
~   Peas are good with mint, of course, spring onions, crème fraiche and lemon.
~   Edamame like lemon or lime and maybe a little wasabi paste.

Other possible leftovers (or not) that can be advantageously added include roasted vegetables (red pepper, fennel, garlic), cheese (cream cheese, blue cheese, Gran Padano etc.), sour cream, mayonnaise and so on.

One more idea – fold in chopped nuts, crispy fried onions, seeds, a few whole beans, etc. as the mood and the leftovers situation takes you.

In Other News …

The aforementioned Marcus (of Country Wood Smoke) also suggested Black Garlic Ice Cream and I agree with him.  The molasses, fruity flavour of the garlic would be good in ice cream, maybe rippled through my Blue Cheese Ice Cream for instance  but on second thoughts I decided not to use so much of the precious stuff in one dish.  I’d rather enjoy it a bit here and a bit there.  So as he’d put me in the mood I had some sorbet that was lurking in the freezer from recently writing “Sorbets &Granitas” and publishing it on kindle. 

Easy Salted Caramel Sorbet 

250g sugar
570ml water
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ - ½ tsp sea salt

~   Put the sugar into a heavy bottomed pan together with about 100ml of the water.
~   Set the rest of the water immediately next to the stove.
~   Stir together the sugar and water over low heat till the sugar has dissolved then turn up the heat and stop stirring! You can swirl the pan a little in a careful sort of way but more stirring will encourage crystals to form which we don’t want.
~   Watch carefully and when the syrup reaches a rich deep reddish brown quickly, carefully and at arm’s length pour in the rest of the water. The syrup will solidify somewhat in the cold water so stir it over low heat till it melts again.
~   Add vanilla and salt.
~   Cool then chill completely and run through ice cream machine or just freeze, mashing it every now and then to smooth out the ice crystals.  

My ebook "Sorbets & Granitas", is all about making these ices without a machine and has lots more info about this and other recipes.

The pink stuff in the background is Himalayan pink salt which my friend Carol gave me and which I used in the sorbet (and then spilled, luckily onto a clean surface so K I salvaged it after taking the photo).

Please (please!) click on the links below to tweet this post.

~   A Bean Dip Primer - and how not to tell lies!
~   Bean Dip Guidelines and good ideas.
~   Bespoke Suggestions for different bean dips.
~   Easy Salted Caramel Sorbet

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Choclette said...

I haven't tried using black garlic - it always looks so unappealing. Love any sort of bean dips though, so suspect I would like this one.

Suzy Bowler said...

Well all I can is try it, try it, try it. I think I'm in love.

Marcus suggested making ice cream so I might - I wonder if it will go well with chocolate!

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