Say “beets” in the Jewish community and one often thinks of borscht, that slightly sweet/tart, cold soup, whose bright magenta color morphs into pastel only when a dollop of sour cream is added. This cheap and plentiful tuber was abundant in Eastern Europe and the Ukraine (borsch means soup of any kind in the Ukraine) and became a staple of the impoverished Jewish and Polish communities. In most temperate climates beets were harvested in summer and early fall and stored all winter in root cellars.
Hummus, the mixture of chick peas and sesame paste originated in the Middle East and probably could be considered an Israeli national dish because it is served at all meals and festive occasions. A few years ago I was served beet hummus at an upscale restaurant in Tel Aviv. The following is my interpretation of this delicious dish and a great way to introduce children to beets.
- Place drained beets and garbanzo beans in a processor workbowl and pulse the machine on and off until the two ingredients are blended but a coarse texture. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add the remaining ingredients and processor until the ingredients form a fairly smooth paste.
- Place mixture in a decorative bowl and serve with pita bread or vegetables for dipping.
Yield: 1 pint