Posted by: Food Lover | June 7, 2012

West African Peanut Soup Recipe


We are avid meat lovers, but we are also food adventurers. It was in the spirit of adventure we decided to start pursuing some vegetarian meals that would be delicious and satisfying. We decided to turn to professionals, and got our hands on a great cookbook:

Sundays At Moosewood Restaurant

Amazon.ca/Sundays-Moosewood-Restaurant

Moosewood is a famous vegetarian restaurant located in Ithaca, New York Sate. They’ve been provided inspired meals since 1973. Every Sunday they feature delicious exotic meals based on a single ethnic, national or regional cuisine. You can find their restaurant here:
Moosewoodcooks.com/

We started with the very first recipe in the book, West African Peanut Soup. We found this an easy recipe though it is a lot of prep work. It was fabulously delicious, complex flavours in a thick soup that left us wanting more to the last drop, but so filling it ensured we couldn’t eat more. We paired this with their banana chutney on artisanal bread, perfect for dipping. It’s no secret that banana and peanutbutter go beautifully together, the soup and chutney were an inspired culinary delight!

Banana Chutney

We started with the banana chutney so that it could cool while we made the soup.

Ingredients:
• 2 or 3 very ripe bananas, the skin should be spotted brown
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon or lime rind
• 2 pinches ground cloves

Lemon or Lime Rind: To make this easy we recommend getting a zester at your local kitchen supply store. You can do this with a knife but it’s more challenging. Keep in mind that you don’t want to get any of the pith, that’s the white part under the yellow or green skin. The pith is naturally very bitter. For a video on zesting lemons, take a look at YouTube:
Youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+zest+a+lemon&oq=how+to+zest+a+lemon
Chowhound also has tips of zesting and juicing a lemon: Chow.com/food-news/55057/how-to-zest-and-juice-a-lemon/

Making the Chuntney
Mash the bananas with a fork, but leave a few lumps. Place the mashed banana into a small saucepan. Add the lemon juice, lemon or lime rind, and cloves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the temperature to let it simmer gently, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. The bananas will slowly spout little puffs of steam like simmering oatmeal.

You can save the chutney in a clean container, and it will keep for up to a couple of weeks. It’s never lasted more than a couple of days at our house because it’s so delicious. As the recipe book points out, this is great for breakfast on toast. For the soup, we suggest a good quality, fresh artisan bread from a bakery, slather on the chutney, and dip it in.

West African Peanut Soup

Ingredients:
• 2 cups chopped onion
• 1 tablespoon peanut oil
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
• 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
• 1 teaspoon ginger (whole chunk)
• 1 cup chopped carrots
• 2 cups shopped sweet potato
• 4 cups vegetable stock

• 2 cups tomato juice
• 1 cup smooth peanut butter
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 cup chopped scallions or chives

Saute the onion in the peanut oil just until it turns translucent. Stir in the cayenne and fresh ginger. Add the carrots and saute a couple more minutes. Mix in the potatoes and vegetable stock. Bring the soup to a boil and them simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Our own addition to this recipe, we took a chunk of ginger and squeezed it through a garlic press to get some ginger juice into the soup, nice if you like that little extra punch of ginger.

In a blender or food processor puree the vegetables with the cooking liquid and the tomato juice. Return the puree to the soup pot. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Taste the soup, if you find it’s not sweet enough add sugar to your liking.

Reheat the soup gently, keep stirring so the bottom doesn’t burn. If you find it’s too thick for your liking, add water, stock or tomato juice to thin it out. We didn’t add anything, the thickness made it filling and good for dipping bread into. Also we didn’t want to mess with the flavour balance.

Serve topped with lots of chopped scallions/chives/green onions. We went into the garden and grabbed some chives, also putting in chive blossoms for beauty and taste.

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