bits and pieces

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

West African Peanut Soup

even better the next day
Growing up in the pre-allergy (or at least less-allergy) era, I was the girl who had peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every. single. day. In addition, I'm sure I had peanut butter toast for breakfast at least 2-3 days a week. My mom used to tell me I would turn into a peanut. Years later, I am still not a peanut and have never met a peanut I didn't like.

Many many moons ago, I tried a version of this recipe after having it out at an African restaurant one night. Despite following the recipe, it ended up becoming waaaay too thick to be a soup. It did however, lead to the discovery of my super excellent best in the world thai peanut dipping sauce (after a few modifications of course).

But here I am, moons later, in collld and looks-like-snow Calgary. Nothing to do but cook I guess! While trolling TasteSpotting I came across a version of this and decided to give it another go. I made a few changes, but this was right on the mark. Creamy, rich, spicy, complex, peanutty. For me this is perfection. It IS rich, and it IS thick - think of this as a meal soup and have it with some garlic naan for dipping. It is REALLY filling. I honestly don't know if I could eat this AND something else - but for a cold grey evening, this was great. This makes 3-4 servings and is relatively healthy. Other than the 3 tbsp (or 4 if you're a freak like me) of peanut butter, this is pretty much an all veggie soup.

ingredients (it looks like a lot, but it's not. I had all this in my house already. WEIRD):
1.5 tsp olive oil (for cooking your onions in)
1 med. yellow onion, diced.
Pinch of salt, pinch of pepper
A splash of white wine (not necessary, I was drinking while cooking, as per us.)
cooking with class
1 clove of garlic, minced
1.5 tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp garam masal
pinch of curry powder

I mortar+pestle'd these bad boys
*the original recipe called for 1/4 tsp cinnamon and a small pinch of ground cloves, but I didn't have cloves and though garam masala would bring the same flavour profile. 
a splash of lemon juice (optional)

1.5 cups diced tomatoes, with juice (I used canned because I was lazy/had canned and no fresh)
1 carrot, chopped up
1 med-small sweet potato or yam, peeled and chopped up
1 handful of spinach, chopped roughly. I used stems and all. 

2 cups of vegetable stock/chicken stock is also totally 100% acceptable - it's just not vegetarian. 
a couple splashes of water/wine/left over canned tomatoes if your soup is too thick (optional)
2 tbsp dried, chopped up peanuts (optional.. I only had honey roasted and in they went!)
a pinch or two of cayenne (if it’s not spicy already/to taste)
3-4 tbsp creamy/crunchy peanut butter (I used all natural cruncheeeh)
¼ cup chopped cilantro + additional for garnish
left over greek yogurt for a garnish. if you have it lying around. Cream/sour cream works well. This is totally optional. If you're going vegan just leave this badboy out. 
salt and pepper to taste

veggies + spices, cooking away

other things you will need:
immersion blender or a blender OR you can just mash this really well with a potato masher for a chunkier more 'rustic' soup... I only half blended mine anyway. 
a big pot to cook your soup in 
delicious carbs to dip in your soup (as noted - I had naan and then covered it with garlic butter which was heavenly)

  1. In your big wonderful soup pot add your olive oil and heat over medium. Throw in your onions. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper and cook for 10 minutes or so until they're starting to brown up nicely. Add a splash of white wine at some point if you feel like it
  2. Add your tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and curry powder. Add a splash of lemon juice if you want. Lemon brightens other flavours and adds taste without adding any fat or salt. 
  3. Cook for 4 minutes. Add your spinach and cook for 1 more minute. 
  4. Add stock, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Test sweet potatoes/carrots for doneness - they should be soft and pokeable with a fork. Blend soup. Return to low heat. 
  6. Add peanut butter and cilantro and stir until melted in/combined. Taste and add additional peanut butter/cayenne/salt/pepper as needed. If your soup gets to spicy spice - add a little yogurt or milk to cool it. EAT WITH CARBS

    Spicy peanut soup with cilantro + garnish

1 comment:

  1. I am going to make the fuck out of this soup