Getting Lost in the Woods; Fresh Cranberry Bean Hummus

Iceberg Lake

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.

Anemone, hiking up to Grinnell Glacier

Mountain goats

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.

Cranberry Bean Hummus

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.

Cranberry Beans

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.

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by Kimberley

show hide 26 comments

tara - September 1, 2011 - 12:15 pm

oh. my. word. that first photo.

and then all the ones after it. wowza.

kankana - September 1, 2011 - 12:16 pm

This long weekend I am going to Utah and hoping to do some non stop hiking.. but it’s going to super warm and dry so, hope I can keep up the pace :)
Gorgeous pictures and this hummus looks so lovely.

sara - September 1, 2011 - 12:21 pm

so perfect! I am DYING to get to montana someday. I have heard nothing but magical things about it.

la domestique - September 1, 2011 - 2:14 pm

Welcome back! The pictures are gorgeous! I could totally dig into this hummus as well!

amelia - September 1, 2011 - 3:35 pm

Are you kidding me with that first photo?? I can hardly believe that place exists, it’s that beautiful. PLUS, i’m watching Twin Peaks so basically, I really need to get up north and fast!!

Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane - September 1, 2011 - 5:34 pm

You have an amazing eye, Kimberley. I agree, that first shot is just…so…breathtaking! So much so that I’m close to booking a trip up there just to see it firsthand. It sounds as if you had a much needed respite — awesome hummus and all!

Lynda - September 1, 2011 - 5:47 pm

I so want to get lost in the woods. And eat cranberry bean hummus. I admire your regimen!

Rivki Locker - September 1, 2011 - 6:17 pm

Fresh beans are so wonderful. I can only imagine how fantastic this hummus tastes after a day of hiking.

Brian @ A Thought For Food - September 1, 2011 - 7:00 pm

What a marvelous view. Being in nature can be so refreshing… and, as that first picture shows, it can be inspiring as well.

james - September 2, 2011 - 5:39 am

Amazeballs. Welcome back.

Brandi Henderson - September 2, 2011 - 9:42 am

take me with you next time?

SG - September 2, 2011 - 9:47 am

I love those images and I have to go there. I must get the details from you. Wowza.

Season with Reason - September 3, 2011 - 6:45 am

Just beautiful. I have always loved bean dips but have developed a whole new appreciation through my program at Natural Gourmet. You’ve inspired me to do a bean week sometime soon. What’s on tap for September – I can’t wait to see!!

Kasey - September 3, 2011 - 10:04 am

Your photos and description make me want to hop in a car and drive to Montana ASAP. I know exactly what you mean about the simplest food tasting amazing when you’re hiking. It’s transformative. Hope to see you soon!

Sarah - September 3, 2011 - 1:10 pm

Your photos are outstanding. I keep going back to look at them. Great work!

renee@sweetsugarbean - September 3, 2011 - 4:21 pm

Jealous of your hiking trip!!! Lovely, lovely photos.

Heather @opgastronomia - September 3, 2011 - 6:39 pm

Welcome back! I am very jealous of your escape from technology, I am in awe of those amazing images, and I am very excited to make hummus with the cranberry beans I have on hand!

kickpleat - September 6, 2011 - 5:14 pm

Sounds like a perfect trip – your photos are breathtaking!

Elizabeth - September 6, 2011 - 9:25 pm

What a remarkably beautiful place! The photos are really spectacular. Thanks for sharing.

NicoleD - September 7, 2011 - 9:45 am

Oh my!! What a magical place. The hummus sounds crazy good, too.

Lemoncello - September 7, 2011 - 7:11 pm

I opened this recipe thinking it was cranberry and beans and got excited pre-planning Thanksgiving recipes…… too funny!!

joanne - September 8, 2011 - 9:27 am

I always pass by fresh beans like this because I never have a plan for what to do with them. Now that I’m armed and ready, you can rest assured that I’ll be picking them up for just this purpose!

Felicia - September 19, 2011 - 3:15 am

Amazing shots! They make me want to go to Montana!

:)

susan - September 30, 2013 - 10:38 am

This is my real home.

[...] THIS MONTH: FRESH CRANBERRY BEAN HUMMUS [...]

[...] to Glacier every summer has become a ritual. I go there to get back to me at my best, to shed some of the [...]

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