Of all the varieties of hummus, Caramelized Onion Hummus is my favourite. It works great with veggies, but also as a spread with grilled crostini, crackers, or rice cakes. This hummus is completely versatile!
As I mentioned in a previous hummus post, I spend a recent Saturday afternoon experimenting with making hummus at home rather than purchasing the store-bought variety. The difference in taste was simply phenomenal! I, for one, love the taste of fresh!
The first step for this recipe is to caramelize the onions. Caramelizing onion is an art form in itself. In fact, it’s the only way I’ll eat onion – it has to be really, really well done. The smell of slowly frying onion invokes a beautiful memory for me. It takes me back to the cold, winter months of my childhood, more specifically, grade three!
I can pinpoint my exact age because I was in grade three, which would mean that I was eight years old. In the small town that I grew up in, in a few instances, I was paired with other grade levels at school. For example, the grade two and three classes were hosted in the same room, and I can remember the same about grade five and six. I’m not sure if it was because of limited classroom space, limited teacher budgets, or because the student number was so low. Anyway, I digress!
In grade three, I had the most amazing teacher – in fact, most of my teachers were great throughout my academic years, but this one particular teacher was my favourite. In fact, I still keep in touch via Facebook, more than 30 years later!
I remember that the students in grade two would start class at 1pm, after the one-hour lunch break. The grade three students, however, were not required back to school until 2pm. (Remember, both classes shared the same room and the same teacher.)
Rather than stay home and wait for class to start, I would leave home with my older sister and younger brother who both started back to class at 1pm, and head to my favourite aunt’s house. I would stay with her while she ate her lunch. I would leave about five minutes or so before class started.
This was my daily, weekday routine for a very long time. I can’t recall if it was the entire grade three school year, but I can be certain that it was at least for several months.
My Aunt Beryl had children too. None of my cousins shared a classroom with me, so all four of them had eaten lunch and had headed back to school. This was when my aunt would have her lunch, and while doing so, she would take a break from her duties as a housewife, and watch Days of Our Lives. She was the reason I became hooked on daytime soap operas; a habit I’ve since been able to break.
Right now, at this very moment, I’m sitting at my desk, and I can smell homemade French fries which have been deep fried in shortening; I can smell the BBQ sauce that she used to dip her fries into (trust me, it works very well if the fries are cut thin and fried until they are crispy); and I can smell onions being pan-fried in a cast iron skillet.
Her home always smelled so good, because something was always cooking on the stovetop, or baking in the oven. And caramelized onions, I think, were one of her favourite ingredients. I remember well how much my uncle, her husband, would like to pan fry onions and potatoes.
These memories and smells bring me right back to 1984 when I became too familiar with Bo and Hope, and watched adult, daytime television with my beautiful aunt. I still think of her often and only with the fondest of memories. Her memory evokes such a strong sense of comfort and a time when I had no responsibilities or worries. My aunt passed away in October of 2002. I could speak for hours – if not days – about my aunt, but, you came here for the recipe.
Caramelized Onion Hummus
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 15 ounces canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Start by adding the onions to a skillet with the butter. Over medium-low heat, slowly cook the onions until they turn a deep, golden brown colour. I prefer the onions to be very well done – I love the charred onion flavour!
- Once the onions are cooked to your liking, allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- In the meantime, add the chick peas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to your food processor. Pulse together the ingredients for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Next, add the caramelized onions and gently pulse once or twice just to break up the onions and to mix them through the hummus.
Lastly, thanks for the memories, Aunt Beryl. We still love and miss you.