Red Pepper and Walnut Dip (Muhammara)

Red Pepper Walnut Dip (Muhammara)

Red Pepper and Walnut Dip (Muhammara)
This is a party favorite everyone loves it. The flavor is complex and rich. The subtle sweetness from the peppers, bright acidity from the pomegranate molasses, a bit of heat from the chili and the richness of the nuts make it so moreish. It is traditionally used as a dip but that shouldn't stop you from trying it on grilled chicken or pork chops. Muhammara pairs well with sparkling wine, champagne, cava or prosecco.
Makes about 1 ½ cups.

1 cup walnuts/cashews, lightly toasted
1 red pepper, coarsely, chopped
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
¼ cup pomegranate molasses*
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cumin ground
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Marash chili, Aleppo, or cayenne
1 teaspoon sumac**
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Mint or parsley leaves for garnish
Endive leaves
Pita toast

1. Finely chop the walnuts/cashews in a food processor. Add the red pepper, onion, and lemon juice pulse on and off until finely chopped.

2. Add breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, sugar, cumin, salt, cayenne, and sumac. Pulse on and off in the processor several times to mix well. Add the olive oil in a continuous stream and process until well mixed. Be careful to not over mix. Place in a serving dish.

3. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, mint, and parsley. Serve with endive leaves and pita chips.

*Pomegranate molasses can be found at Whole Foods, Middle Eastern markets, gourmet shops, and online/mail-order sources.

**When you hear the word “sumac" you most likely think poison. This is from a berry of a plant from that grows wild in the Mediterranean so you have nothing to fear from sumac the spice.

The red berries are sold as dried coarsely ground or whole berries. The flavor is tart to sour tasting. In the Middle East sumac is considered mainly a condiment used much like salt at the table. Sumac can be used to season poultry, meats and fish kebab for the grill to give it a zesty tang. Sumac is also used as a garnish for hummus, or rice.

You can find sumac at Whole Foods, Middle Eastern markets, gourmet shops, and online/mail-order sources.

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Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie