Print

muhammara

5 from 1 reviews

Ingredients

  • 2 large or 3 small red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (either homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or substitute 1 small clove crushed garlic)
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • For garnish: extra virgin olive oil, pomegranate molasses, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • For serving: pita bread (either homemade or store-bought) or anything savory that needs more flavor

Instructions

  1. Turn one or two gas stove burners to medium heat and place the red peppers directly over the grates. *
  2. Cook the peppers, frequently rotating each as soon as one side becomes very charred. Cook until the peppers are somewhat soft and very charred (about 5 to 10 minutes total).
  3. Immediately place the peppers in a glass container or bowl. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and microwave for 30 seconds on high heat. Then use the residual heat to let the peppers slowly steam for 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. While the peppers are steaming, pulse the walnuts in a food processor, until they’re very finely chopped (be careful not to over-process).
  5. Toast the walnuts and breadcrumbs together in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they turn golden-brown, about 4 to 7 minutes. Stir in the cumin during the last 30 – 60 seconds of cooking. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Once the peppers have steamed long enough (they should be soft and cool enough to handle), use a paper towel to rub away most of the charred skins. Tear the peppers open and discard the seeds, pith, stems, and any excess liquid that has collected.
  7. Place the skinless, seeded red peppers in a food processor and only pulse 1 or 2 times to very coarsely chop the peppers. **
  8. Add the walnut-breadcrumb mixture, pomegranate molasses, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, lemon juice, garlic powder, oregano, and salt, and pulse 2 to 3 more times just until everything forms a chunky paste. Do not purée.
  9. Place the muhammara in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil or pomegranate molasses and sprinkle with more crushed red pepper.

Notes

* If you don’t have a gas stove, you can use your oven’s broiler or a grill, using the same method and checking frequently.

** If you don’t have a food processor, you can easily do this by hand. Very coarsely chop the red peppers on a cutting board, add them to a bowl, and use a potato masher to combine the peppers with the rest of the ingredients. You could also use a mortar and pestle, as Ottolenghi suggests. It’s harder to over-process by hand, but be careful to stop as soon as it turns into a chunky paste.