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Fear Conquered: Homemade Tomato Paste
There are a lot of awesome food challenges for bloggers, but one of my favorites to watch is the We Should Cocoa challenge hosted each month by Choclette and Chele. It always features chocolate, it always attracts a slew of talented foodies, and there's always a secret theme or ingredient (and who doesn't love secrets?)!
This month, the secret theme was to make a savory and vegetarian dish using chocolate. Now, you know I have a love affair with beans (and not just cocao beans), so it should be so surprise I'm attempting to combine these two ingredients for this savory chocolate challenge. To be honest, I had been itching to making a red bean hummus anyway, and when I saw Choclette post the new We Should Cocoa challenge for February, I couldn't resist joining up.
And that's the story behind this red bean chocolate hummus creation. Shockingly, it turned out better than I expected. The final chilled texture is almost that of a dense, silky mousse and the chocolate really masks the flavor of the red beans - which is a good thing if you're not a bean fan. Serve this dip with a few pita chips, few apple slices and a radish or two and you've got a vegetarian yet surprisingly decadent lunch.
However, before you rush off to try this recipe, let me throw out a few warnings:
- This recipe has NOT been tested for quantities or measurements. This was a dump-and-blitz operation and so all of the ingredients below are approximate measures only
- Don't use peanut butter like I did - it doesn't play well against the smoked paprika and chili powder. I'd recommend using either tahini paste or Nutella or even a combination of both
- Season judiciously - at the time, I thought the hummus needed more salt, but after resting in the fridge, it's now too salty
- Add orange zest - the hummus really needs some citrus to cut the cloying chocolate and pastiness of the beans. I'd add the zest of at least 1 orange, maybe 2
- Add more chili powder - seriously, I was a wimp and only put in enough chili to tickle the back of my throat, but I recommend adding more. Because of the chocolate and blandness of the red beans, this hummus can really stand up to the heat
Thanks again to Choclette of the Chocolate Log Blog and this month's host of We Should Cocoa for inspiring this attempt - and if you haven't already taken the chocolate challenge, what are you waiting for?
STORY | PRINTABLE RECIPE | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
|Add the beans and boiling water to a slow-cooker insert, cover and cook the beans for 1 hour on HIGH, then reduce the heat to LOW and cook for another 1 1/2 hours until the beans are soft. Drain and let the beans cool to room temperature.|
|Chop the dark chocolate.|
|Combine the dark chocolate and almond milk in a microwave-safe dish and heat the chocolate in the microwave on HIGH for 5-10 second intervals until just melted, stirring vigorously between each interval.|
|Pulse the cooked red beans and orange juice in a food processor fitted with the steel blade to break up the beans. Add the nut paste of your choice and pulse to combine.|
|Add the melted chocolate and spices and pulse to combine.|
|With the food processor on continuous run, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the hummus is smooth and silky.|
|Chill the hummus for at least an hour. Serve chilled with pita chips, radish wedges, apple pieces and cucumber.|
STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Red Bean Chocolate Hummus
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 2 hrs 30 min
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1 gallon purified water, boiling
- 1/2 pound (1 cup) dry red kidney beans
- 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon almond milk
- 1 orange, juice of (recommend zest and juice of 2 oranges)
- 3 Tablespoons natural peanut butter (recommend using tahini or Nutella instead)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (recommend 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (recommend 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add the dry beans and boiling water to a slow-cooker insert, stir well and cover; cook the beans on the slow-cooker HIGH setting for 1 hour, then reduce to the LOW setting and cook for another 1 1/2 hours until the beans are soft; drain the beans and cool to room temperature
- Combine the dark chocolate and almond milk in a microwave-safe bowl and heat the chocolate in the microwave on HIGH for 5-10 second intervals until just melted, stirring vigorously between each interval
- Add the beans, orange juice and orange zest to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse several times to break down the beans
- Add the nut paste (I used peanut butter but recommend using either tahini paste or Nutella instead), melted chocolate, salt, paprika and chili powder; pulse until well combined
- With the food processor on continuous run, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the hummus is smooth and silky. Check for seasoning and adjust, then chill for at least an hour for best flavor
- Serve with toasted pita chips, cucumber slices, radish wedges and apple pieces
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Hungry for Tips?
- Microwave: If you're not a fan of the microwave (or if you don't own one), you can instead melt the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl over barely simmering water. Once the bowl warms, the chocolate will take about 5 minutes to melt. You will need to frequently stir the chocolate to avoid hotspots. I prefer the microwave method because it's faster with less mess.
- Slow Cooker: If you start from scratch, the beans are a bit of a time investment for an otherwise easy dip. So I recommend cooking the beans a day or two in advance. A slow cooker makes this easy to do and requires very little babysitting.
- Flavor Combinations: Choclette (the host of We Should Cocoa) suggested using lime and cumin instead of orange and paprika. This sounds very intriguing to me and I recommend giving it a shot. At least once. Because you’re already taking a chance with chocolate hummus.
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