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Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Majesty of West African Peanut Soup

I posted this almost exactly a year ago. This week's RemembeRed seemed like a good fit, as we're talking about memory and recipes. 





The boys and I went hiking today. The woods burst with little fireworks of wonder. We saw bald eagles. Grasshoppers. We collected leaves in a little bag,  We held our breath and listened to the wind and the trees as they whispered their wisdoms.

The kids hardly complained. This, in itself, is a revelation. 

Later, I dropped off soup for my friend. She  is having a baby tomorrow. How odd to write such momentous words so matter-of-factly.

She has a secret comet. For months, she's been watching it with open-mouthed wonder, as it illuminates the sky, leaving a silken trail of light. 


Tomorrow we will see it with her.  

The only way to address this majesty is to make soup. Really, the only way, sometimes, to address the majesty of this world, period, is to make soup. To create warmth and richness out of water and vegetables. To simmer, soak, stir, and taste. To eat until you are full. 



West African Peanut Soup

(This yields a gallon, but can easily be halved).  


4 cups onions, chopped
2 tbl oil (peanut or vegetable)
1 tsp cayenne (or other ground chilies) 
2 tsp ginger root, grated
2 cups carrots, chopped
4 cups, sweet potatoes, chopped (up to two cups white potatoes can be substituted)
8 cups vegetable stock or water
4 cups tomato juice
2 cups smooth peanut butter
2  cups scallions or chives, chopped
sugar (granulated (optional). 


Method: 
1. Saute the onions in the oil until just translucent. 
2. Stir in the cayenne and fresh ginger
3. Add the carrots and saute a couple more minutes
4. Mix in the potatoes and stock or water. 
5. Bring the soup to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. 
6. In a blender or food processor, puree the vegetables with the cooking liquid and the tomato juice. 
7. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. 
8. Taste the soup. Its sweetness will depend upon the sweetness of the carrots and the sweet potatoes. If it's not there naturally, add just a little sugar to enhance the other flavors. 
9. Reheat the soup gently, using a heat diffuser (if needed) to prevent scorching. 
10. Add more stock, water, or tomato juice for a thinner soup. 
12. Serve topped with plenty of chopped scallions or chives. 


Vegetarian, unique, and delicious. Enjoy! 

16 comments:

Rebecca said...

Wow since it's all a puree I bet I would love, love, love this soup.

Cameron said...

Oh, I love peanut soup, and I love the way you talk about your day, and a secret comet.

So much adventure in so few careful words!

Anastasia said...

Yum! I love african peanut soup.

Victoria KP said...

I love this line, "The only way to address this majesty is to make soup. Really, the only way, sometimes, to address the majesty of this world, period, is to make soup."

It makes me think of my mother. The moment someone has a baby or falls ill, the first thing she does is start chopping an onion--for soup.

Kir said...

My women didn't cook, we bonded over pails of Mr Clean and not delicious smelling kitchens...yet this made me long for a tribe like that...the sensuality of it, the sights, smells, the metaphor of filling a heart and a belly...was wonderful.

Formerly known as Frau said...

Happy Halloween! Soup sounds delicious!

Jenny said...

We love soup! And I will try this....could you freeze some, do you think?

Alison said...

This soup sounds wonderful. I've never tried peanut soup but I bet I would love it and could even get at least one of my kids to try it. Great post.

Adventures in Alyssaland said...

"The only way to address this majesty is to make soup. Really, the only way, sometimes, to address the majesty of this world, period, is to make soup."

Well said. I completely understand and appreciate the value you place on soup.

Kori said...

Isn't that what we DO, though? Is cook? Because that's how we show our love, how we honor people. Beautiful.

Julie said...

A. That soup sounds delicious.

B. Your friend has an almost one-year-old now. Hooray!

C. When did you get an email subscription option? I'm so excited. I have wanted to subscribe to you forever.

D. You've been prolific here...sorry I've missed so much.

E. All of the above. AND.
Good luck with NaNoWriMo.

Really.

angela said...

Oh, I love soup. Love. I think there's something so special about making soup for someone, and you've done such a great job capturing this.

Abbey is allergic to peanuts, so I will have to save this one for another day :)

Rachel (Totally Ovar it) said...

This soup has become a staple in my repertoire. Friends have begged for the recipe. I always lead them back to you, Nancy. THank you for sharing this gem. HUGE hugs.

earlybird said...

I've never even heard of peanut soup but it sounds just the thing for a cold day. I particularly liked: 'We held our breath and listened to the wind and the trees as they whispered their wisdoms' Lovely.

Sara said...

YUM. Remind me not visit on recipe day when I'm hungry.

I loved how you moved into this RemembeRed. The walk the boys, the talk about the baby. Wow I loved the comparison to the comet and your line, "Tomorrow we will see it with her."

Jen Has A Pen said...

I love soup. It's one of the reasons Florida can be hard to deal with some times.... just isn't cold outside long enough to fully enjoy soup. :-)