Every year for the last five years, I’ve made a trip up to the remote northwestern reaches of Montana to get lost in the woods for a week or two. Most years, it’s a last-minute decision; as summer ambles along, my desire to get out of town and away from the reaches of cell phones and internet grows in pitch until I give in and find myself obsessively poring over maps and catching up on the latest grizzly reports in the park. I just can’t seem to get enough of the place.
When I’m up there, I don’t give much thought to food except in its most basic form: protein-rich stuff that’ll keep me going on a 10 or 12 mile hike. My days are spent on the trail, in ridiculously pristine forests that are rich with wildlife and no shortage of unbelievably stunning mountain vistas. Food is just sustenance: dense bread slathered with almond butter and eaten hastily in the morning, a cheese sandwich at the mountaintop mid-day. Not to say that it doesn’t taste incredibly good, though: when hiking so much, you generate a monstrous appetite, and a simple cheese sandwich can be a transportive thing. Chips and salsa (and a cold beer) never taste better than after six hours of hiking.
Were I continuing my at-home eating habits out there, however, I would totally be making and eating this hummus everyday. It passes all the tests: it’s protein-rich, healthy, easy and addictively delicious. And cranberry beans really bring it to life. The freshness of the beans shines, and they possess a lovely nutty quality that is a welcome twist on classic hummus. It’s denser than a lot of hummus, too, but you can thin it with a little of the cooking water from the beans, or with more olive oil. The quiet anise notes of the chervil round everything out nicely.
This Cranberry Bean Hummus recipe is part of the August Seasonal Food Guide
FRESH CRANBERRY BEAN HUMMUS WITH CHERVIL
1.5 pounds cranberry beans (pre-shelled weight)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
1 lemon, juiced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garnish: carrot sticks, pita bread, tortilla chips
First, shell the beans. Place beans in a medium-sized pot and fill with water about two inches over the beans. Do not salt the water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until beans are tender. Remove from heat and drain beans. (Reserve a little of the water if you’d like a thinner hummus.)
Using a handheld blender or food processor, combine beans with olive oil, lemon juice, tahini and minced garlic. Blend to desired consistency. Add salt to taste.
Spoon hummus into a serving bowl. Drizzle olive oil over hummus. Garnish with fresh chervil and cracked black pepper.