22 April 2013

Roast Garlic and Butter Bean Dip

For a few weeks now I have had two beautiful bulbs of organic garlic sitting in what is meant to be a fruit bowl but instead has become some sort of bowerbird nest of seasonal bibs and bobs, only the bowerbird is colour blind and eschews the brilliant blues for the brown and autumnal. Russet leaves snatched up before they are sullied by the drizzle only to be crushed in my pockets. Dried leathery seed pods whose satisfying rattle amuse for two blocks then are absentmindedly shoved into my bag. Tiny conifer cones, seeds dispersed, gathered with notions of never to occur craft projects involving silver spray paint. Only remembered when I reach into my pocket on returning home and discover the rumpled (and lets be honest, suddenly drab) remnants of autumn... then I throw them in the bowl and forget about them once more.

It was under this pile of botanical jetsam that my lovely purple papery garlic has languished while I bought bulb after bulb in the intervening weeks. I rediscovered it this weekend while cleaning out said bowl and since the oven was on put it in to roast with a little olive oil. Once roasted you can squeeze out the mild, nutty garlic paste and use it for a mellow variant wherever you would usually use garlic. The endless possibilities of using my roast garlic had me stumped with what I would actually do with it... roast meat? pasta? mashed potatoes? I added and crossed ingredients off my shopping list, then checking through the depths of our cupboard I saw a can of butter beans, forgotten until now. A further forage brought out tahini, pomegranate molasses, a strong grassy extra virgin olive oil, smokey paprika and a container of miss matched crackers just this side of crunchy. Why leave the house when you don't have to?
Ideally you want to use garlic before it starts to sprout as the green scapes can be bitter, remove them if you are cutting up garlic to cook with. That said these tasted just fine roasted - not bitter at all.
The trick to a super smooth creamy dip with butter beans (or chickpeas) is to remove as much of their skin as possible. This is easier with soaked beans as you can pop them out of their skins, but with tinned if you can be bothered to push them through a sieve you will end up with a tablespoon of coarse mashed up skin and a bowl full of velvety bean paste (and a good workout for your upper arms).

This week I am collaborating with the wonderful Chrissy from Goldilocks Lunchbox by making Anzac biscuits (recipe to follow soon!) for her Aussie inspired lunches this week - orders for the Wednesday lunchbox close today so if you are in Fitzroy/ Collingwood/ Carlton/ North Melbourne way and feel like "Something big, something small and something sweet', all homemade and delivered to you at work (or play) email: goldilockslunchbox@gmail.com


2 heads of garlic
1 can butter beans (400 g total weight, 270 g drained)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 generous tablespoon tahini paste
flaked salt

smokey paprika powder
extra virgin olive oil
pomegranate molasses
cracked pepper


Cut the very top off the two heads of garlic, place on a roasting tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bake for 40 minutes at 170 C. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before handling.

Drain the butter beans and rinse under cold water, put in a small saucepan and just cover with water, bring to the boil then drain the water. Using the back of a spoon push them through a fine sieve in batches until they are all smooshed up you end up with about 1 tablespoon of coarse skin left over. Scrape the underside of the sieve to make sure you get all of beans into a bowl.

Into the bowl with the bean paste squeeze in the roast garlic then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the lemon juice, tahini and salt to taste. Stir well to thoroughly combine. 

Spoon into a small serving bowl and dust with a pinch of smokey paprika, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate molasses and lots of cracked pepper. Serve with crackers or crudites. Simple, easy and very tasty.

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