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Valley Bar & Bottle Black Garbanzo Hummus


Black garbanzo hummus in a bowl with toasted pita chips.

Our original plans to celebrate our 20th anniversary were thwarted by the pandemic. We had planned a major shindig with lots of guests and even a cumbia band, but of course, things just weren't meant to be. Our friends at Valley Bar and Bottle, right on the square in Sonoma, offered to host an event, much less ambitious but no less delicious, and we jumped at the chance.

There were so many great dishes that night but the universal favorite was the black garbanzo hummus. You'll notice on the label of the black garbanzos that it says not to use them for hummus. Boy, were we wrong. We thought the thick skins would be a problem since so many hummus fans insist on removing the skins but this dish has a really great texture and Chef Emma's technique made us beg her for a recipe. She obliged!

From Chef Emma Lipp: This is more of a method, not a recipe, and can be batched accordingly in size and in personal variations. A strong blender (i.e. a Vitamix) is recommended, but a food processor can work as well. We frequently use garlic confit in our cooking in place of raw garlic, and it is what gives this hummus its distinctive base note. Garlic confit and its oil can keep in the fridge indefinitely, and has a multitude of uses. You can make the hummus with fresh garlic instead for a more peppery vibe, but note that its shelf life will be reduced. We use Soom brand tahini, and also recommend Seed & Mill or any super fresh tahini.

  • 1 pound uncooked Rancho Gordo Black Garbanzo Beans, picked over and rinsed
  • Salt
  • Freshly peeled whole garlic cloves
  • Neutral oil such as rice bran oil
  • Fresh tahini to taste (see note)
  • Fresh lemon juice to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Toasted black sesame seeds or nigella seeds for garnish


  1. Soak the black garbanzos for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Do NOT skip this part.
  2. Drain the garbanzos. Place in a large pot and cover with ample fresh water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a hard simmer. We rarely cook the beans with aromatics, but you are welcome to add any vegetable ends or onion skins to lend a bit of flavor.
  3. Cook until the garbanzos are tender. Test five (five!!) beans to ensure that they are truly cooked. It is better for the garbanzos to be extra cooked than in any way undercooked.
  4. When totally tender, turn off the heat and set the pot to cool. Now is when we salt the beans. Taste the bean liquid for seasoning --- however salty this water is, is how salty the chickpeas will become as they cool in the liquid.

Garlic Confit

  1. Cover freshly peeled (farmer's market, preferably) garlic cloves in a pot with neutral oil (we use rice bran) to the depth of your choosing.
  2. Bring to a low bubble on the stove, then reduce the heat to very low to maintain a bare simmer. Let the garlic cook low and slow until soft, at least an hour. Let cool.


  1. Put a quart (about 4 cups) of the cooked, cooled garbanzos into your blender or food processor with some of their liquid, a quarter cup or so of tahini, at least a tablespoon of garlic confit and its oil, a glug of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a squirt of lemon. Blend. Add a little bit of ice water to help smoothly cream the hummus. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. (You can make more hummus with the rest of the cooked Garbanzos, or save them for another use.)
  2. If you are making a large batch, use a spatula to empty the hummus into a bowl. Integrate each new blender batch into the bowl, mixing together with the spatula. Pay attention to the overall seasoning and adjust a new batch accordingly.
  3. To plate, spoon into a bowl or dish, then turn the spoon up, using the backside to dip a channel into the hummus. Glug finishing olive oil into this impression, and sprinkle toasted black sesame seeds or nigella seeds to finish.

Note: The bowl pictured above was produced by Gwynne Johnson in her Petaluma garden studio, exclusively for Rancho Gordo. It's available for purchase at our showroom in Napa. You can find more information and shop her full collection online at https://www.guineveremade.com/ 


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