Chickpea Dip with Toasted Cumin & Pomegranate

This recipe was featured in a post on The Recipe Girl Blog: Holiday Appetizers.

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Chickpea Dip with Toasted Cumin and Pomegranate

Serves: 8 to 10 Prep time: 30 minutes

This recipe is easy to make, festive-looking & it was devoured quickly by guests at my husband's big birthday bash.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic
sea salt
2 medium lemons
Two (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 pomegranate
1/4 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
pita chips or baguette slices for serving

Directions:

1. In a small, dry frying pan over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds, shaking the pan often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool.

2. In a mortar, combine garlic and a pinch of salt and crush to a paste with a pestle. Add the toasted cumin seeds and grind them together with the garlic. Grate enough zest from 1 lemon to measure 1/2 tsp., and then halve and juice both lemons.

3. Score the pomegranate into quarters with a sharp knife and pull the fruit apart into sections. Place the sections in a bowl and add water to cover. Using your fingers, pry the seeds away from the membranes; the seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the membrane and skin will float to the top. Scoop out and discard the membrane and skin, and then drain the seeds and set aside.

4. In a food processor or blender, combine the chickpeas, garlic-cumin mixture, lemon zest, 4 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup water. Process the mixture until very creamy, adding more water if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.

5. Scrape the dip onto a large plate. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (reserve any remaining seeds for another use or for snacking). Serve with pita chips or baguette slices.

Tips:
*If you don't have a mortar/pestle, you'll need to grind the toasted seeds in a spice grinder. If you don't have either a mortar/pestle OR a spice grinder, improvise by using ground cumin and mix well in a small bowl with garlic and salt (you'll be losing out on the "toasted" flavor of the cumin).
*Timesaver Tip: Buy pomegranate seeds already cleaned and removed from the fruit at Trader Joe's.

Source: Re-printed with permission from Amy Sherman's New Flavors for Appetizers