Muhammara: A Dip Both Unusual and Fabulous

This is how we prepare the red peppers for this tasty dip.  Sear them over the gas flame.  There are other ways, don't despair!

This is how we prepare the red peppers for this tasty dip. Sear them over the gas flame. There are other ways, don’t despair!

I first encountered this Lebanese appetizer in Maine, believe it or not.  It evidently is available in jars from specialty stores and on line, but since I usually have an abundance of red peppers at the end of the season, I decided to make it myself.  The key ingredient is pomegranate molasses, once again available on line, although you can also make this yourself by boiling down pomegranate juice.  For the “chippy part,” I buy the small pitas, cut them in 1/8ths, separate each 1/8th so I end up with 16 triangles from each mini pita.  I then toast them in the toaster oven until brown (maybe 3 minutes).  Here’s the recipe:

  • 3 large, very ripe red bell peppers (roasted peppers from a jar could be used, drain well and rinse)
  • 1 C. high quality fresh bread crumbs (I use whole wheat)
  • 3 mashed garlic cloves
  • 1 C. chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ C. pomegranate molasses (or to taste, I use more)
  • 1½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 tsp. Tabasco (or to taste)
  • 1/3 C. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • (serve with pita chips)

Turn the peppers over a flame or burner or broil them until blackened all over.  Put in a paper bag to cool for about ½ hour, then peel and seed, removing the white ribs.  Put all ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and puree. This recipe makes about three cups.  Store it in one cup containers as it freezes well and is very handy when an unexpected friend drops by for drinks.

 

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