Here I sit, feeling smug and self-confident, at least in so far as my integrity is concerned. Just as I promised the other day, I've got that recipe-cum-tribute to share with you. After a little bit of testing, tasting, and some final tweaking today, I think I've got it. Although, I must confess, the smug self-confidence falters a bit here, considering that I hope this recipe of mine does justice to the people and country it's paying homage to: New Zealand.
As I mentioned in the last post, pumpkin and kumara play a large part in most Kiwi's diets, especially in the colder months. Until I moved to New Zealand, I'd only thought of a pumpkin as something you carve a face into to scare off the spooks and ghouls once a year. Kiwis, however, refer to any winter squash, be it butternut, acorn, hubbard, or spaghetti, as simply, pumpkin. No fuss. No muss. And kumara, is the Maori word for sweet potato. Sacred food.
One of my favorite things to eat during my time there (and I had quite a lot of favorites, mind you), was Pumpkin and Kumara Hummus. We bought this ready-made at the store, and slathered it on crackers, pita, bread, you name it. The squash and sweet potato are roasted, which really gives the whole hummus experience a delightful, sweet twist. To a standard hummus recipe, the addition of roasted, sweet and earthy veg brings things to a whole new level. Just like many parts of life for an ex-pat in New Zealand, the day-to-day stuff seemed a little fresher, a little quirkier, and just that much more interesting..as does this dip. I hope you enjoy.
Roasted Pumpkin and Kumara Hummus (or Squash and Sweet Potato Hummus, for us Yanks)
2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/3 cup + 2 Tbs tahini
freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons
olive oil, for roasting, and adding to hummus, approximately 1/4 cup
1-15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (2 large, or 3 smaller)
splash red wine vinegar
1/8 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Toss squash and sweet potato with 1 Tbs or so olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet for about 25 minutes, checking often and turning. Your goal here is to avoid getting too much browning on the veg, but achieve a nice, sweet caramelization to add more depth to your hummus. Once the vegetables are easily pierced with a knife, remove from the oven and let cool for a bit.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine garbanzo beans, 1/3 cup tahini, garlic, juice from 1 1/2 lemons, 1/8 cup olive oil, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Add in the cooled (they can still be a bit warm) vegetables, and process until you're happy with the consistency. Taste, and add in more lemon, olive oil, 1 -2 Tbs more tahini, and salt and pepper, if you feel it needs it. Allow your taste buds guide you, if it needs a little more acid, a splash of red wine vinegar may do the trick. Olive oil will loosen up the texture and mellow out the flavor, should it need that. Cooking is not a science, it's an art form, so relax, and make whatever tastes good to you. Let the hummus hang out for at least an hour to allow the flavors to develop, then serve with bread or crackers, and some veggies.
And again, as we're thinking about New Zealand here, should you wish to be of help to those who are dealing with the aftermath of some serious earthquakes, please visit here: Christchurch Earthquake Appeal to make a donation.