Excuse me while I jump on a bandwagon for a little bit. If you’re not watching Orange Is the New Black… I can fully understand why you’d let out an exasperated “UGH!” and click away right now. The obsession is everywhere, but let me tell you–it’s with good reason. Man oh man… This is an excellent show, and I would expect nothing less of Jenji Kohan, the genius creator of Weeds (my Netflix jam last winter).
Personally, I think Weeds would have been better if (SPOILER if you haven’t watched the show and plan to) we got to go to prison with Nancy instead of just skipping ahead three years while girlfriend did time. I can only imagine how good a Weeds+OITNB hybrid would’ve been.
Anyway. Are you watching Orange? Are you loving? Are you obsessing, Crazy Eyes-style? Are you, like me, wishing you could binge-work, binge-clean, binge-cook, binge-generally-take-care-of-life so you could hole up with Netflix for a couple of days, uninterrupted? How can we rearrange modern life to accommodate Netflix’s “Here’s a whole season, bitches” way of doing business?
Orange is the new black, and muhammara is the new hummus. See what I did there?
Of course, nothing has to be the “new” anything. Hummus is delicious, but muhammara is a recent obsession of mine. It’s an insanely delicious Middle Eastern dip of Syrian origins, made with roasted red peppers, walnuts, bread crumbs, spices and some other delicious things. It’s savory, nutty, and spicy (well, as spicy as you want). Also, it’s just about as complicated as making hummus, which is to say: not even a little bit.
There are a couple ingredients in here that you may or may not be able to find. Don’t sweat it if you don’t, and don’t break your neck trying… As long as you have the basics, there’s no reason you can’t make a good approximation of this.
Pomegranate molasses is one. It’s tart, sweet, and wonderfully fruity, but if you don’t have any around, grenadine works as a substitution. Or, since it’s really just concentrated pomegranate, you could boil (then simmer) some pomegranate juice until it’s thick. If that’s still too much work… I would go as far as blaspheming to say that you could skip it altogether–but mostly because I don’t want anything stopping you from making and enjoying this.
Aleppo pepper is another elusive one–I personally love it, but substituting it with additional cumin will work just fine.
However, I don’t think walnuts would present a problem, so. Let’s toast some walnuts.
…Then, all of this goes into the food processor, and we’re literally done.
Serve with pita chips or toasted pita wedges. Take to an OITNB viewing party, obviously. I mean, this is even orange! Perfect, right?
P.S. I would absolutely throw my pie for you. If you don’t know what that means, carry on, but… Just know that I would.
Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)
(adapted/scaled up from Epicurious)
3 roasted red peppers (a 12-oz jar, drained), coarsely chopped
1 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
1/2 cup walnuts pieces, toasted lightly
3-4 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (see notes above)
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
Blend everything but the oil in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if need be. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a steady stream. Taste and add more lemon juice/red pepper flakes/salt if you’d like. Serve at room temperature with pita chips or toasted pita wedges. Makes about 2 cups of dip.