Sunday, October 24, 2010

Senegalese Peanut Soup

When I was a little girl, my favorite meal was this strange amalgamation called macaroni and cheese soup. I got the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Step-by-Step Kids' Cook Book. This literary treasure also included gems such as Spaghetti Crust Pie (perhaps the origin of my pie obsession) and Gumdrop Nut Bread. I know it sounds like an acid flashback, but I swear I am not making this up. It was the one thing I loved to help my mom make. She liked it because she could sneak in lots of vegetables. I liked it because of the savory, rich, cheesy broth. Now, macaroni and cheese soup is neither vegan nor dignified, so I haven’t had it in years. But I still have a fondness for that rich bowl, full of comforting and homey flavors, so when I saw this peanut soup I had to give it a try. Obviously the African spices, and all the vegetables make this a much more grown up dish, but it is still reminiscent of that childhood favorite. It has the same savory richness and nourishing feeling of my macaroni and cheese soup, but with a whole lot more nutritional value. And it was perfect for this gray and rainy Saturday evening.

2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 onion diced
1 sweet potato diced
1 carrot diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder or Garam Masala
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
2/3 cup peanut butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped green onion, cilantro, and peanuts for garnish.

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Sauté until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and spices and sauté for one minute more. Add the tomatoes and vegetables stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sweet potato and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

Scoop the peanut butter into a small bowl. Ladle a few cups of broth into the bowl and whisk until the peanut butter is smooth. Add the peanut butter mixture to the soup and stir until combined. Reheat the soup and then scoop into bowls. Garnish with green onions, cilantro, and peanuts. Enjoy immediately!

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