Saturday, January 03, 2009

Black eyed pea hummus with sweet potato chips

Happy new year! On New Years Day you need to make black eyed peas for good luck, so I made black eyed pea hummus, modeled after the one at Wisteria restaurant. Melanie and I share a huge affection for this stuff and we can clean a plate of it out with our faces pretty easily, especially because it comes with gorgeous, crispy sweet potato chips. I tried to make those too--they were not as universally crispy as they could have been but I think I'm on the right track so maybe next time they'll be better. They were still delicious though. If you feel lazy, you can always just make the hummus. It is awesome.

I soaked my black eyed peas overnight because even though they cook pretty quick without a soak, I figured (and correctly, as it turned out) that I'd somehow be short on time by the time people were coming over even though I didn't have shit to do all day long. I used about 2 cups raw peas, soaked them overnight, drained them, covered in fresh water and let them cook over medium heat for about 35 minutes. I drained them and picked out a handful of pretty ones to use as garnish on top and set aside.I minced 3 cloves garlic and dumped them in a big bowl with the cooked black eyed peas. I then used my immersion blender to purée the peas together with the juice from 2 lemons, 1/2 cup olive oil, and one teaspoon each salt and black pepper. After it was all mixed up, I added in 1/2 cup tahini and continued blending until it was all smooth. Taste it at this point and see if it needs more salt or lemon juice--mine did. Get 4 sweet potatoes, peel them, cut in half cross-wise and use a mandoline or a really sharp knife to cut them into thin, chip-like slices.You should have a pretty good pile when all done, even allowing for inevitable dog theft along the way. Heat up a heavy pot with 2 cups of oil until it is scarringly hot. Add your sweet potato slices in small batches, keeping a good eye on them.They only take a couple minutes. Lift them out when they get a nice golden brown.Let them drain on crumpled paper towels and salt them lightly.They mostly turned out really well but some didn't get as crunchy as I would have liked so I ended up crisping some of the more floppy ones in the oven. That worked well but definitely adds another step. Either way, it is delicious, and if you have people like Brian around who like their sweet potato chips on the chewy side, then maybe it isn't such a bad thing anyway.

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