Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Weekly Recipe #61: West African Peanut Soup

By Jeanne Foels, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator

I've become a bit of an evangelist on behalf of this soup, to the point where it's getting embarrassing. I'm obsessed with pureed soups, peanuts and sweet potatoes, and this recipe has it all! The sweet + savory combination is my favorite, and the hint of spice is icing on the cake. Naturally, this soup came to mind when Asei, Joaquin and I were plotting our Soup-a-Palooza entry. We're glad you liked it!

For years this creamy soup been my go-to dish to feed a crowd, whether for dinner parties, weekend trips or potlucks, and there's usually a batch of it in my freezer for quick weeknight meals.  Healthy, economical and just different enough to be interesting, it just might become a staple in your house, too.

Make it the day before a potluck or a weekend at the cabin -- like many soups, the flavors only get better the day after. Plus, it freezes beautifully!

West African Peanut Soup
(Serves ~8)

2 cups onions, chopped
1 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne or other ground dried chiles
1 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock or coconut milk
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp. sugar
1 cup scallions or chives, chopped

1. Saute onions in the oil until translucent. Stir in cayenne and fresh ginger.
2. Add the carrots and saute a few more minutes.
3. Mix in the sweet potatoes and stock or coconut milk. Bring soup to boil and simmer for 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
4. Carefully transfer the vegetables to a blender or food processor with the cooking liquid. Add tomato juice and puree until fairly smooth. You may need to perform this step in several batches.
5. Return puree to a soup pot. Stir in peanut butter until smooth.
6. Taste soup, and add a little bit of sugar if the natural sweetness from sweet potatoes and carrots isn't enough. Serve topped with scallions.

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