Twenty-something years ago, when we were still newlyweds, I asked my husband if there were any favorite foods he had that I wasn’t making. He thought for a minute and said, “Yeah. Peanut soup. When I was in basic training, we had it once when we were out on leave, and it was one of the best things I’d ever eaten.” Huh. I’d never heard of peanut soup before.
It’s a West African dish, filled with all kinds of nutritious stuff. I had to make it. It was amazing! I kept it constantly in the rotation, tweaking it to my heart’s content, because it’s just as delicious as it is good for you. Perfect.
Now that initial recipe I used – I could have sworn that it was out of a Moosewood Book (all their books are fabulous vegetarian fare!). I’m looking at the one I own, Moosewood Restaurant Favorites, and that was published in 2013, 18 years later. Hmmm. It’s got a recipe for West African Peanut Soup on p.65 and another for Groundnut Stew on p.127, but my scribbled and rescribbled recipe doesn’t look much like either.
Our initial dishes were turquoise Fiestaware. Who ever said blue is unappetizing with food is silly. Those turquoise dishes make all the rainbow produce dishes look great, and are particularly stunning with oranges, pinks, and reds. We’re rocking our good china all the time now. The white just isn’t as cute with the orange. Okay, I think I’m done with my artist rant. I hope you love the soup! You might feel like a little yoga afterwards.
Jen’s West African Peanut Soup
I love serving this with a basic green salad dressed in a vinaigrette and warm, fragrant beer bread. I’m trying to slow down on the bread, so now the beer has made its way into the soup. It’s quite happy there. 😉
I group the ingredients together with the directions so it’s easier to see what can get prepped together.
2 smallish onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon oil
Saute until translucent.
¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne (¼ with kids. For the not-spicy friend I just made this for, yours was 1/8 teaspoon.)
2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
Stir in and sauté a few more minutes.
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 can beer (or 2 cups more water)
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
Mix in. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes, until tender. Puree in blender in two batches if you love it smooth or mash with a potato masher or an immersion blender if you prefer a little more texture. Return to soup pot.
1 can tomato juice
1 cup peanut butter
2 Tablespoons stevia or sugar
Add, stirring until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.
4 chopped scallions or chives
Need that knife?! I know! It’s beautiful isn’t it? It’s so shiny that it’s hard to get a good photo. Such a sexy knife! 8″ high carbon stainless steel Damascus-style chef knife. Damascus is referring to that beautiful pattern. Stunning, really light, comfortable, and sharp. Pakka wood handle. Believe it or not, it’s a value play. Here’s the Amazon link: