Smutty Food: the Muhammara Dip
(Lainey: Click here if you missed Fiona’s first post. This week it’s my favourite Super Bowl dip.)
My love of trying Middle Eastern recipes started when I married my husband who is of Middle Eastern descent. He comes from a family of amazing cooks. Unfortunately he did not inherit their love and talent for cooking, just the eating. The Muhammara dip is a Middle Eastern dip, traditionally from Syria, but after some reading I’ve learned many countries in the Middle East have a version of this dip.
With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, the Muhammara could be a good change or maybe a nice addition to the usual Super Bowl fare of chips, wings and peanuts.
One of the unique ingredients I love about this dip is the pomegranate molasses. It adds a nice tart flavour and makes it different from most other red pepper dips. The reason my husband and Lainey love this dip so much is that it has a similar flavour to a traditional Persian dish called Fesenjan, which is a walnut pomegranate stew served with rice. Like my husband, Lainey loves the eating and not so much the cooking part, and therefore she does not own a food processor which is required for this recipe. When she first tried this dip she was in heaven.
Cooking notes: I first made this dip with ¾ cup of olive oil and found it too oily, so I have reduced the amount to 2/3 as noted below. The original recipe also asked for chopped walnuts which you add to the food processor. I found this redundant. I would recommend that you buy walnut pieces, toast them and then add to the food processor. This eliminates the need to chop the walnuts and minimizes the mess. Make sure you try one of the walnuts before adding them to the recipe. The last thing you want to do is add rancid nuts to the dip.
7 oz. jar roasted red peppers
2/3 c. fine fresh bread crumbs
1/3 c. walnuts, toasted lightly
2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with ½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. pomegranate molasses*
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes
½ -2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
*Available at Middle Eastern and Greek grocers.
In a food processor blend together the red peppers, bread crumbs, walnuts, garlic mash, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, pepper flakes and some salt to taste. Blend until smooth. With motor running slowly add olive oil. Transfer Muhammara to a bowl and serve. Garnish with mint leaves and walnut halves if desired. Best served at room temperature with pita chips, flat bread or crackers. This dip keeps for several days in the fridge.
-- Adapted from Epicurious.com