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Mighty muhammara

I was sitting here staring at my jar full of pomegranate molasses [1] and wondering where to start when I came across this interesting recipe.  Now, I am a huge fan of hummus [2]… I could seriously sit down and eat an entire bowl of the stuff.  I also love baba ghanoush [3] to no end.  What does this have to do with anything?  Well, I’m about to introduce you to the missing leg of the mighty Arabic dip triad:  Muhammara [4].

The mighty muhammara [5]

The mighty muhammara

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, that is a very red spread (yet it doesn’t contain a single tomato or beet).  Don’t worry, you know that most things that are brightly colored like that are just filled with flavor!  The recipe I used is based on this one [6], but enhanced a bit.

Ingredient Breakdown:

The Aleppo pepper isn’t easy to come by, but you can order it from Penzey’s (or go in and get it if you have one in town, like I do).  It is smokey and spicy, but not as hot as Red Pepper flakes.  Now we have to prep the peppers, bread crumbs and walnuts, then put this all together!

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (broiler setting).
  2. Place the peppers on an oven rack in the middle of your oven and prop open the door so the broiler stays on (photo below).  The peppers should be nice and blackened in 10 – 30 minutes (just keep a very close eye on ’em and turn them as one side blackens).
  3. Remove the peppers to a large bowl and cover immediately with plastic wrap and allow to rest/cool for 20 minutes.  This will allow the steam from the peppers to soften the skin.
  4. While the peppers rest, grab some bread (I used some sourdough I always have around) and toss it into your food processor.  You’re trying to get 2/3 – 3/4 of a cup, so a 1 1/2″ – 2″ slice should do you fine.
  5. Pulse the processor until it is nice and grated.  Set aside.
  6. Put a pan on medium heat and toss in your walnuts.  Toss/stir to keep from burning and allow to toast, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.
  7. Take your peppers out of the bowl, then seed and skin them.  The easiest way I found to skin the peppers is to lay them flat on a cutting board and lightly scrape away the skin with your knife.
  8. When your peppers are done, it is time to assemble.
  9. Get your food processor and place in the garlic mash, walnuts, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, Aleppo pepper, bread crumbs and the roasted peppers.
  10. While it is running (and after it had come together), pour the olive oil in very slowly.
  11. When fully incorporated, stop the processor and pour into a lidded bowl.
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste, then refrigerate for at least an hour to let it solidify and allow the flavors to marry.
  13. Eat with pita chips and enjoy!

I know this had quite a bit of prep, so here are a few photos to hopefully help you on your journey:

Peppers before [8]

Peppers before

Peppers during [9]

Peppers during

Peppers after [10]

Peppers after

Pepper steaming [11]

Pepper steaming

Pepper skinning [12]

Pepper skinning

Walnuts toasting [13]

Walnuts toasting

Bread before [14]

Bread before

Bread after [15]

Bread after

This really is an amazing dip and if you enjoy the taste of hummus or baba ghanoush, you will most likely enjoy this as well!