A Ladlefull of Peanuts

13 Dec

Processed food=bad. Processed photography=way more fun than Oreo cookies

If there’s one thing I like at winter time, it’s making soups. It’s  an obsession.They fill the house with rich scents, and they’re eatable with a spoon and bowl (crucial criteria). They at least seem reasonably healthy (in comparison to pasta carbonara, Elvis sandwiches, and well, the majority of this blog’s content). After seeing what some of my online soup chef contemporaries are doing, I just want to raise the ladle to them.

I like making vegetarian soups for my friend Hannah, who’s vegan and has a gluten allergy. It makes most creations very “creative” (future post about vegan pancakes coming up), but soups with spicy vegetables and international twists are leaving me, well, hungry for more.

One of the best resources for all things vegetarian cooking and internationally-cognizant is Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York. One of the recipes from their cookbook is for a West African Peanut Soup, a warm vegetable puree I’ve adopted as my own. It combines sweet potatoes, cayenne pepper, tomato juice, and peanuts in a combination that’s as complex and enjoyable as peanut butter itself. The result is a bright soup, perfect for warm nights in Charleston. Even my vegetarian-snubbing roommate loves this stuff.

Paying homage to the Amateur Gourmet

Paying homage to the Amateur Gourmet

  • 2 cups chopped white onion
  • 1 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger, or 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter (I used Trader Joe’s brand, but JIF is also really good in it)
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • dry, roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup chopped scallions, include green and white part
  1. IMG_2946In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil on medium-high heat. Once water dances on the surface of the oil, add the onion and cook until translucent and slightly browned, around 10 minutes. Stir carrots, cayenne pepper, and ginger. Let carrots soften, around 3 minutes. Stir in sweet potatoes. (For added flavor, “de-glaze” the pot with 1/3 cup of dry white wine, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon)
  2. Add vegetable stock (or water), bay leaf, and parsley and turn heat to high. Bring stock to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Let vegetables simmer until softened, about 30 minutes. (Just keep an eye on the liquid so it doesn’t reduce too much)
  3. Remove from heat and remove bay leaf. In batches, blend vegetables and stock with tomato juice. Pour puree back into the pot and add peanut butter and sugar, slowly stirring and incorporating the peanut butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and garnish with peanuts and chopped scallions.
Top with toasted peanuts and chopped scallions.

There you have it.


One Response to “A Ladlefull of Peanuts”


  1. My Other Favorite Peanut « Table Scraps - December 19, 2012

    […] just wrote about peanut soup and peanut butter, but here’s a little bit of my other favorite form of the […]

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