Sunday, February 7, 2010

There's Peanut Butter in My Soup

I have been cooking more and more one-pot meals lately. We've had lots of soup, lots of chili, some stews. Up until now I had always just used my beat-up old large pasta pot for all of these tasks. That is, until my darling hubby came home one day with a gift for me!
Here is my brand new Dutch oven. I am absolutely loving it so far. I am not used to having a big, heavy pot like this! It keeps stuff hot forever! It's such a beautiful thing.

So recently we were watching Alton Brown cooking on TV, and he was preparing a soup that was African in origin. It contained boiled peanuts, if I recall correctly. This is something that intrigued us instantly. I mean, it sounds like something that should be good, but it still is a scary concept. It reminded me, though, that there is a recipe for a similar soup in my Ellie Krieger cookbook, The Food You Crave, that seemed worth trying. It's called Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup, which is pretty much a great way to sum it up. It is a broth-based soup, with assorted veggies, and some cayenne and black peppers. You simmer the soup for a while and then you blend it until smooth. Once you transfer it back to the pot, you top it off with peanut butter and honey. Garnish with scallions, and you're ready to serve.
I forgot to get a picture of the soup before it was pureed, but you'll just have to take my word for it that it looked completely different than the above picture, which was taken post-peanut butter. It just looked like a hearty vegetable soup. But once you add that peanut butter, it changes into a rich, reddish-brown concoction that looks velvety and decadent.
We added some bean sprout to the garnish, as well. The glare in this picture is horrible, but I think you get the idea. We really loved this soup, and we were proud that we were brave and ventured out of our comfort zone. I actually thought the sweet potato in the soup was a more dominant flavor than the peanut butter; the peanut butter makes it taste rich. It was very filling, too; a warming, comforting winter meal! The recipe for it can be found here, although it is called Nutty Sweet Potato Soup on Food Network's website. It is worth the gamble!

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