Thursday, September 6, 2012

West African Peanut Soup

Just to make things clear, I am not getting into the habit of posting recipes two days in a row.  I will suffer a burnout in an incredibly short amount of time.  It’s not even the cooking, it’s the posting.  I am hoping that as I get more comfortable with Blogger it becomes easier for me to get a post up.

So! West African Peanut Soup.  I’ve had this recipe in my e-mail for a while now, and I have it as originating from which sadly is no more.  At any rate, I tweaked it a little, as I tend to do.  The recipe I had called for canned whole tomatoes, I had crushed at hand so that’s what I used.  I made a few other minor deletions and additions as well.  Overall, this is a soup we liked more and more as we ate it.  I think it was because we didn’t know what flavor to expect, or that what it was what not what we expected, or something.  Once that surprise passed however, we enjoyed the actual flavor of the soup tremendously.  It’s thick, subtle (much more than we had anticipated) and unlike anything we had eaten before.  The scallions really gave it a boost that it needed, and I might forgo the chopped peanuts next time, as they are too bland to really add anything here.  

West African Peanut Soup
) 2 cups chopped onions
) olive oil
) 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
) 2 Serrano chilies, seeded and minced
) 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger root
) 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
) 2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
) 4 cups (32 oz) vegetable stock
) 2 cups crushed tomatoes
) 1 cup peanut butter (we always buy natural, which is less sweet than many people are used to, but has a real peanut taste as opposed to a sugary taste)
) 1 cup chopped scallions
) chopped peanuts
) Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce)

I peel, chop, mince, seed, grate, etc in advance.  I have these cute little vintage aluminum jello molds from my Nonnie that I use as my little mise en place bowls.  If ingredients are added to the pot at the same time, I put them in the same little bowl, this way it’s one step, one motion and onwards.  Otherwise, I tend to forget the tiny amount of spice or peeled something I put on another counter.

In a soup pot, heat your olive oil and when ready sauté your onions.  Once the onion is almost opaque, add the ginger, cayenne and chilies (right in the center).

Give it a minute or two, stirring occasionally, and then add the carrots to the mix.  

Another few minutes and it’s the potatoes turn.  Finally, after the potatoes have sautéed for a few minutes with everybody else, pour in your stock and bring to a boil.  Give it a minute, and then reduce to a simmer for the next 15 minutes.

After this has simmered for 15 minutes, pour in the tomato puree and combine well.  Use your immersion blender and CAREFULLY puree everything until you have a nice consistency.  I don’t mind chunks, some do, play to your crowd.  

Now add your peanut butter, turn off the heat, and stir for about a minute until the peanut butter is totally incorporated into the soup.

I topped ours with the chopped scallions and peanuts and a healthy glob of Sriracha.  We had two bowls each and I don’t regret a minute of it!

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