Just sharing a quick one with you today, because November is right around the corner and I want to talk about the official beginning of something that may inspire your inner domestic deity or fill you with existential dread: hosting season. Like it or not, the holidays are prime dinner party time, and in the coming weeks, you're likely to be either the host or the host-ee at a number of soirees revolving around eating. Not sure what to serve, and even less sure what to bring when asked to contribute? My answer is the same for both situations: ROASTED BEET HUMMUS. It's earthy, savory with a touch of sweetness that only deeply roasted beets can bring, virtuous without committing the sin of being boring. Best of all, it's violently bright pink, so it will command attention on any table in the midst of lesser pale dips and boring side dishes.
The art of hosting is really all about knowing how to compose a great snack plate: whether you've got weeks to plan the menu or five minutes to throw some tasty morsels together on a plate at the last minute, knowing what to set out to tempt guests' appetite is a true art. Seasonal fruit always looks beautiful, and offers a little something sweet to nibble on. Blushing grapes or perfect figs not in season? Dried fruit is a great alternative in the winter months, so reach for cranberries, dates, or anything else you fancy. Cheese is a must. Don't even think about putting together a snack plate without at least two varieties (I like one soft, one firm) of cheese. Something salty (a little dish of olives, smoked almonds or cornichon pickles) is non-negotiable as well, it will keep guests sipping their beverages and hitting the sweet options to balance. Finally, choose a dip that commands attention, like this shockingly magenta, shockingly good roasted beet hummus. If unexpected guests are a common problem around your house, it couldn't hurt to keep a freshly made bowl of this on standby in the fridge at all times. You're welcome--and happy feasting!
1 large beet (about the size of your fist), well scrubbed
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained
3 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Drizzle beet with a small amount of olive oil, just until lightly coated, then wrap in a square of parchment and twist paper tightly to close. Roast beet for an hour, or until very soft and tender, then remove and let cool completely. The skin should slip off easily at this point (don't worry too much about stained hands at this point, but do be careful of your wooden cutting board!), after which cube the beet into 1" pieces.
Place beet cubes in food processor with 1/4 cup olive oil, plus the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice & zest, blend into a paste. Taste and add salt as preferred. Serve immediately with pita wedges, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, crackers, or anything else your ideal snack plate requires! Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week...if it lasts that long.