Pomegranate Humus with Spicy Sausage

Sucuklu Humus

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A well-made humus is a wonderful form of comfort food. But it’s not Turkish. If you’re offered it in Turkey you’re probably in a place run by someone with an Arabic background. (This is not to say that I’m taking a side in the humus war. You won’t catch me making a declaration on whether its origin is Syrian or Israeli or Palestinian or Lebanese. All I know is it’s not Turkish.)

At my restaurant in Sydney, we try to change our menu every three months. The discussion with my cooks and waiters begins with me saying: ‘Lets lose the humus—it’s not Turkish.’ My manager, Fatih, always replies: ‘Leave it alone. It’s been seven years, and the customers love it.’ So I’ve compromised. I’ve turned an Arabic speciality into a Turkish dish by adding ingredients familiar to me— pomegranates to sweeten it, capsicum to colour it and sucuk (spicy beef sausage) to give it heat. My customers are right.

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Ingredients

Humus

  • 200 g (7 oz/1 cup) dried chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (to make your own see)
  • 1 tablespoon capsicum (pepper) paste (see)
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Topping

  • 1 small cucumber
  • ½ small red onion
  • ½ red capsicum (pepper)
  • 100 g ( oz) sucuk (or chorizo)
  • 2 slices day-old sandwich bread
  • pide bread (to make your own, see), grilled, or pita crisps, to serve

Method

Put the chickpeas in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute, and then strain. Put the chickpeas in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda, cover with water and soak overnight.

Strain the chickpeas and rinse under cold running water for 5 minutes. Transfer to a saucepan, cover with plenty of water, and bring to the boil over medium heat. Cook for 1½ hours until the chickpeas are soft enough to mash with your fingers. Put the cooked chickpeas in a food processor and blend into a smooth paste. Finely crush the garlic and stir into the chickpea paste. Add the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, capsicum paste, tahini, salt, olive oil and paprika and blend into a smooth purée. Spoon the humus into a bowl.

Peel the cucumber and finely chop. Finely chop the onion. Slice the red capsicum, remove the seeds and stalk, and finely chop. Chop the sucuk very finely. Chop the day-old bread into small cubes.

Put the sucuk in a small frying pan over low heat and bring to a simmer, then cook until the fat begins to sizzle and emerge. Add the bread cubes and capsicum, and cook for 2 minutes until crisp. Remove the sucuk, bread and capsicum from the pan and mix with the cucumber and red onion.

Using a spoon, swirl the humus so it looks like a whirlpool, and then scatter the sucuk mixture into the swirls. Serve the bowl of humus with grilled pide or pita crisps.