So today I was told, pursuant to Christine’s trip to the market, that a nice vegetable coconut curry would be a good idea for dinner; that seemed a doable, if predictable course, given the quantity of animals we’ve dispatched this week (last night, a lovely lamb stew at our neighbors’ house.) But then, upon throwing wide the fridge door, I did see shiitakes, and broth made from lamb and chicken bones, and our own kale from the freezer, and lo I transported the country of culinary inspiration to Italy instead. Just like that, because I can. Italy, India- what are a few letters when ignoring my wife’s request is what really matters? Besides, she loves everything I make.*
Thus the chick peas I had soaked and simmered became the base for a lovely rich stew that included the juice from a can of tomatoes, leftover steamed sweet potatoes, and a big hunk of what was fatback and became- post trimming for my homemade lardo that’s now under way- a big strip of pig skin with some fat attached. This all simmered for a bit while I caramelized the mushrooms with garlic, and deglazed with wine, then threw the kale into the same pan with still more garlic and deglazed that with lemon juice. Not a pretty plate, but deep, varied, and satisfying, and well met by another 2006 Saint-Cosme côtes du Rhône- a sturdy and assertive country table wine fit for this kind of peasant fare.
* This assertion has a margin of error of plus or minus one broken whiskey bottle wielded menacingly while I cry and apologize.