Hummus with Buttered Lamb

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Hummus can be more than a dip eaten by itself with bread.  This recipe illustrates this point and is adapted from  On the Hummus Route: A Journey Between Cities, People, and Dreams.  It combines an Aleppo-style hummus with pan-fried lamb seasoned with Aleppo pepper.  It made a nice main course last night with fresh pitas.  The quantities for the hummus will make about 6 main course servings while the quantity of lamb make 2 generous servings.  The hummus takes about 30 hours while the pan-fried lamb takes about 10 minutes.  An unusual step is using some frozen chickpea cooking liquid when processing the cooked chickpeas in a food processor.  I think this step is to keep the chickpeas from getting too hot as they are whirled around.

For the hummus

1 cup (200 g.) dried chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours

1 tsp. baking soda

1/3 cup chickpea cooking liquid, frozen in cubes

1/3 cup tahini

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

3 Tbs. lime juice

1.5 tsp. salt

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

For the lamb

¾ lb. lamb steak, cut into cubes (I cooked the steaks whole but should have cubed them)

2 Tbs. butter

1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper mixed with ½ tsp. salt

Cook the soaked chickpeas in 8 cups of water with the baking soda.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until very soft, at least 1.5 hours.  Save 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid and freeze into little pieces, such as in an ice cube tray.

Put the drained chickpeas into the bowl of a food processor.  Process until smooth, about 3 minutes.  With the processor running, drop the frozen pieces of cooking liquid in one at a time and process for another 4 minutes, until very smooth.

Add the tahini, garlic, lime juice and salt, and process until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the olive oil and process again for another 2 minutes.  Check seasoning and chill in the refrigerator.

Right before cooking, season the lamb with the mixture of Aleppo pepper and salt.

When ready to serve, put a large spoonful of cold hummus on a plate.

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat, and brown the lamb on both sides until cooked through.  Serve the hot lamb on top of the cold hummus with pitas.


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