Med-Mex Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

>> Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Med-Mex Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

When I was nineteen, I married a Mexican man and moved in with his mother so we could save for a house. Mama Nona tried to teach me how to cook traditional Mexican food, but it was pretty difficult because I didn't know much Spanish, and if she knew any English beyond "hello" and "goodbye", she didn't let on to me.

Mama Nona was not impressed with my cooking skills. One day she had a pot of pinto beans boiling on the stove. Her daughter Graciela shouted up to me. “We’re going out, Angela. Can you watch the beans?”

I came downstairs to look. “Sure, no problem.”

Mama Nona was muttering to herself.

“What did she say?”

“She says you’re going to burn the beans.”

“I’m not going to burn the beans. I got this.”

I was halfway into the HBO premiere of “Saint Elmo’s Fire” when I smelled them burning. I ran downstairs but there was nothing I could do. They were stuck to the bottom of the pot and steaming rancid smoke at me. I dumped them into the trash bag, took it out to the trash bin and started a new batch boiling. I opened all the windows to let the snow-fresh air come in.

Several hours later, when the family came home, the beans were perfectly done. I smiled at Mama Nona while she tasted them. She laughed.


“She says, 'I told you that you were going to burn the beans.',” said Graciela.

Last night I was cooking garbanzo beans (chick peas) from scratch so that I could make hummus. To cook most dried beans, you start them the night before by sorting out the bad ones, putting them in a pot of water, adding a couple pinches of baking soda and heating them. Once they reach a boil you turn off the stove and cover them, and let them sit on the burner overnight. The next day you strain and rinse them, cover with water again and let them simmer until they are soft. Doing it this way allows the beans the rehydrate and also eliminates the stuff that makes us gassy.


I was happily simmering those garbanzos that I'd already spent time with the night before. Unfortunately, Joe and I were also making a new recipe for duck in a pumpkin-seed sauce, and baking some french bread. I forgot about the garbanzos until we smelled the smoke.

And then Mama Nona rolled over in her grave, because her hopeless ex-daughter-in-law still can't cook a pot of beans.

I aired them out on the deck because the smell of burning beans is foul. Then I picked them over, because I still wanted hummus, darn it! So I took out a container of pinto beans that I had managed to cook properly and continued on with the recipe, making a Mediterranean-Mexican hummus fusion.

What I love about this recipe is that it has a much smoother, creamier texture than garbanzos alone, which can be a little mealy and grainy. We also kicked up the heat. Cumin, sesame, chick peas, beans, and peppers are common ingredients around the entire equator, so I say this is a valid food fusion. Let me know what you think of our innovation. Out of mistakes come good things.


1 jalapeno (or more to taste)
1 medium red bell pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
2 cups cooked garbanzos (chick peas)
2 cups cooked pinto beans
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp cumin
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Place the peppers on a broiling rack and place them under the broiler at high heat. Turn frequently, until the skins are blackened evenly on all sides. Place the peppers in a paper bag and put a plate underneath it to catch the juices. Allow the peppers to steam at least 15 minutes, or wait until they are cool.

Chop the onion. Saute it in 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan until soft. Mince the garlic and add it to the frying pan. Add the beans and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Take the peppers out of the bag and remove the blackened skins. Scraping them with a knife is the way Joe likes to do this. Remove the seeds and dice the peppers. Add the peppers and the parsley to the blender.

Stir together the remaining olive oil, cumin, sesame oil, and salt and pepper. Pour into the blender. Process the bean mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides often. Add water as needed if the mixture is too thick; the consistency should be similar to creamy peanut butter. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

Serve the hummus in pocket pita bread with lettuce, cucumber, grated carrots, and extra parsley, or use as a veggie dip or sandwich spread.

Makes approximately 5 cups.


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