Chana Italiana


A couple weeks ago, R made a great chickpea dish based on a Smitten Kitchen recipe called Chana Masala.  It came out very well and made for a hearty, vegetarian dinner.  Tonight, I decided to try mixing it up, having done several Indian-inspired dishes lately, while using the original dish as an inspiration.  Instead of Indian, I went with an Italian-type theme to the dish.

I started off with two medium-sized onions coupled with 3 cloves of garlic, all diced, which I put in a cast iron skillet containing hot olive oil.

Onions

I let the mixture cook down, softening the onions, before adding an herb mix containing the herbs pictured below.  You’ll have to use your best judgment when it comes to cooking down the onions, as well as your own personal tastes.  Some like their onion to have a bit of crunch, others like them very soft.  It’s your dinner, eat your onions how you like them.

Herbs

How did I pick the herbs I did?  I looked in my spice cupboard and picked out green things I thought would work well together.  How much of these herbs did I add to the onions?  This much.

Herbed Onions

I’m not trying to be difficult here, but rather to show that, yeah, recipes are great and they can provide some really good inspiration for cooking, but don’t feel limited by them.  Add things that sound good, take out things you don’t like.  The more you do it, the more confident you’ll feel experimenting.  When it comes to the kitchen, you do you.

After letting the onions cook with the herbs for a couple minutes, I added a full 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, along with the tomato liquid in the can and 2/3 of a cup of water, using the liquid to deglaze the pan i.e. scrape up any stuck bits.  I then added a can of drained, rinsed, cooked chickpeas (“chana”) along with a solid helping of aged balsamic vinegar and some sprigs of fresh thyme.  Next step?   Let it all simmer for roughly 10 minutes.

Cooked Stuff

Oh, don’t forget to season with salt as you go.  This is crucial.  The dish is ready when the chickpeas have softened to the point where you like to eat them.

All that remains is to plate the dish, then eat!

Plated Pre Cheese

Now, me being me, I couldn’t help but stir in some goat cheese and gussy it all up with some fresh parsley, because we had some, and why the heck not?

Finished Dish

I’d say the entire dish took roughly 40 minutes or so to make, perhaps not even that.  Fairly easy for a weeknight and it makes a good amount of leftovers, at least another night of serving two people.

Eat athlete food, be a better athlete!

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