Tuesday, January 24, 2012
West African Peanut Soup - Groundnut Stew
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This rich and delicious soup is quite thick and often used as a sauce for rice or chicken. I came across the dish while searching for foods that would typically be served at celebrations held during the African harvest festival, Kwanzaa. The soup is protein-packed and, with a base of peanuts and tomatoes, it makes a great vegetarian entrée that is perfect for Meatless Mondays. Throughout most of the world, peanuts are called groundnuts. They were brought to Africa by the Spanish and Portuguese and to the United States by African slaves, who called them goobers or pindars. They were an integral part of the slave diet. Milk and dairy products were unusual in the countries from which they came because the tsetse fly made cattle rearing impossible. Ground nuts, puréed vegetables and certain fruits were used in their stead to make rich, creamy and filling soups and stews. Peanuts were a perfect choice because they were easily grown. The soup is always made with peanut butter, tomatoes, hot peppers, and onions. In Africa it would be served with plantains and cassava dumplings or with rice balls. Here in the United States, boiled potatoes, rice or whole-grain bread are the usual accompaniments. I like to serve it as a simple first course. This is a rich soup and if you find it too thick, it can be thinned to your liking. I like to add lemon juice to the soup once it is pureed. I find it really brightens the flavor. This is an unusual soup, but I think those of you who try it will find it to be very pleasant. Here's the recipe.
West African Peanut Soup ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bit adapted from a recipe by Allison Liefer and Kate Leahy via Relish.com
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 to 2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 sweet potato peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
3-1/2 cups water, divided
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 scallions, chopped
1) Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Stir in yellow onions and carrots and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add ginger and cayenne; cook 1 minute.
2) Add sweet potato, 3 cups water, tomato juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
3) Ladle soup into bowl of a food processor. Add peanut butter. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into a clean pan.
4) Heat soup over low heat. Add remaining 1/2 cup water to thin if desired. Stir in lemon juice. Ladle into soup bowls and top each serving with green onions. Yield: 4 to 5 servings.
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