Peanuts and tomatoes sound like a weird combination, don’t they? I mean, you’d never think to put tomato slices on a peanut butter sandwich. Or maybe you would, because you’re much more creative than I am. Or you’re from an area of the world where that combination is commonplace. But that’s part of what’s so great about trying foods from different cultures–all of the cooks and chefs around the world have had hundreds or thousands of years to figure out delicious combinations that you’d never come up with on your own. And I can confirm that tomatoes, potatoes, and peanuts, at least in this soup, go together perfectly.
Ever since the weather got cold, I’ve been making a new type of soup pretty much every week. A bowl of hot, hearty soup is the perfect winter comfort food as far as I’m concerned. And this peanut soup fits the bill perfectly.
Now I’m thinking about a peanut butter and tomato jam sandwich. I’ll have to try it and report back.
Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup
3 tablespoons roasted peanut oil
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 small serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 – 2 tsps sea salt (to taste)
¾ cup salted natural peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 can (14.5 oz) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can (15 oz) cooked chickpeas
2 cups peeled, chopped sweet potato (1 large or two small potatoes)
1 cup spicy peanuts (recipe follows)
Bunch spinach leaves, chopped
Cooked rice, quinoa, or grain of your choice (optional)
Add the peanut oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Throw in the chopped onion and sauté until transparent, about 5-6 minutes.
Add the garlic, serrano pepper, and ginger and sauté for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat, add the cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon and mix just until everything is combined.
Add the vegetable broth, fire-roasted tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and stir until everything is mixed.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, tomato paste, and peanut butter. Return the stew to the burner and heat over medium heat to a low boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Partially cover the pot, and simmer for 35-40 minutes, stirring often. When the sweet potatoes are tender, add the chickpeas, and heat about 5 minutes more, until chickpeas are heated through.
When the stew is finished cooking, place a handful of chopped spinach in a bowl, and ladle the stew on top. Cooked rice, quinoa, or another grain are also a great addition.
Sprinkle with spicy peanuts and finely chopped spinach as garnish.
Yield: About 8 servings
1 1/2 teaspoons roasted peanut oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Heavy pinch of fine sea salt
1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
In a small bowl, stir together the oil and spices, then add the peanuts and toss to evenly coat. Heat a small skillet over medium heat then toss in the peanuts and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the peanuts are hot and just barely toasted.
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