I am increasingly convinced that the sweet potato is perfect food. Not only are they packed with fiber and antioxidants, they taste damn good, are affordable, can be grown and/or stored most of the year, and have seemingly infinite preparations. They can be used in sweet desserts, sweet side dishes, savory side dishes, and main courses. They can be roasted, fried, steamed, baked broiled, and even eaten raw, swirled into smoothies.*
I was recently thumbing through a cookbook in the Barnes and Noble bookstore near New York's Time Square (which has a pretty solid cookbook selection) and found a beautiful, glossy photo of a peach-toned hummus that just begged me to buy the book. Very aware of the time (my train out of Penn Station was in a mere 90 minutes) I slammed the book shut and sprinted to the register, only to realize that I had left my wallet back at the hotel. Embarrassed, I left the book behind, but brainstormed sweet potato hummus on the train ride back to DC. I was also armed with spices and inspiration after an awesome spice workshop at La Boîte with Chef Lior Lev Sercarz.
Once home I got to roasting sweet potatoes, soaking garbanzos, grinding spices, and praying that I had enough tahini left for a full batch of hummus. Fortunately, I had everything I needed.
This hummus is dynamite. The sweet potatoes are balanced by citrusy preserved lemons and nutty tahini, and is smoothed out with traditional chickpeas and olive oil. Coriander, cumin, ginger, and garlic add depth and fragrance. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil or as a base for crostini. It is super easy to whip up and will be a crowd pleaser. I like a stiffer hummus, but you can add more water to smooth it out to your personal preference.
1 medium sweet potato
1 Garlic cloves, smashed
1/3 c. good tahini
1/2 c. juice from preserved lemons, or 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ c.water, plus more to thin hummus if too thick
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 can chickpeas
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Rinse and scrub the sweet potato to remove any dirt, then dry well. Wrap in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 1–1 1/2 hours, until tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool, then scoop out the flesh and mash well with a fork. You should have 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mashed potato.
3. In a food processor, pulse garlic until well minced. Add tahini, preserved lemon juice, water, cumin, coriander, ginger, salt, and white pepper. Puree until completely smooth and has a whipped texture .
4. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Add to the food processor and puree until smooth, about for 1–2 minutes. If too thick, add water to thin it out. Add additional water if a thinner hummus is desired. Serve immediately, garnished with pomegranate seeds, olive oil, and fresh cilantro, or refrigerate for up to 1 week.
*ONLY sweet potatoes can be eaten raw. Yams are NOT sweet potatoes. Eating raw yams will not sit well with your tummy!