Tonight was a moment of culinary genius. Inspired by this spaghetti with chickpeas dish here, I bought some chickpeas and canned plum tomatoes the other day along with a package of diced pancetta. I needed to make some food to pack for lunch tomorrow and the refrigerator was in sore need of a cleanout. I wasn't feeling the spaghetti dish so I thought I'd get creative with what I needed to use up in the fridge.
There were a couple of leeks that looked like they had gangrene, a big bag of peeled garlic that I needed to keep chugging through, and that pancetta looking for some action.
I salvaged the leeks and chopped those up and threw them in a saute pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Then, I minced 8 garlic cloves and threw those in. Next, the pancetta went in with a teaspoon of minced fresh garlic. Sauteed everything. Then I drained a can of chickpeas and dumped those in. Let those fry and develop a golden crust (add more olive oil if necessary). I chopped up the plum tomatoes in the can and added those.
Then I added a couple pinches of sea salt
crushed red pepper
a few dashes of dried basil leaves (didn't have fresh)
fresh black pepper
And then this is when the creative genius really kicked in.
I knew it needed some kind of fish/anchovy kick so I contemplated squirting some anchovy paste into the stew but thought better of it since anchovy always seems better off melting off in hot olive oil at the beginning of a dish. I took a risk and opted for fish sauce instead.
So in went a splash of fish sauce
Then, a splash of soy sauce
....a little bit of sugar
and juice from half a lemon
At this point, I tasted to see if it was done. I could tell it needed a boozy kick to end things on a complex note. We had some leftover red wine so in went a splash. A few minutes of simmer later...
oh my god, I just died and went to heaven. This dish was absolutely spot on. It hits your savory spot with just enough of a sour tinge from the lemon juice to make your hiney tingle and twitch. It is tomatoey and worldly and creamy from the chickpeas and the pancetta and leaks just bring everything home. I did a dance and spoke in Spanish, then French and J. had to come over and try it and when he had recovered, he said, "You are so hot."
I can see eating this with spaghetti, couscous, or quinoa.
Yes, my friends. I know I'm infuriating and didn't put down exact measurements. I hope to one day. I will be making it again.