African Peanut Soup

Several years ago after a long day of snowboarding in crazy wind I happened upon an African Peanut Soup courtesy of Mcmenamins. It was different and became one of those items one watches for, but for some reason not something I tried to recreate for quite awhile. Since then I’ve eaten a good number of bowls from a handful of restaurants and I think my favorite is actually the one from Portland based grocery store New Seasons. It has the write hint of spicy to peanut-y with a few sweet potatoes mixed in.

I came across this recipe in Courtney Allison’s: The Soup Club Cookbook : Feed Your Friends, Feed Your Family, Feed Yourself.” The recipe itself comes from a soup club based at the Unity Church in Salem, Oregon. I was pleasantly surprised with the original, but couldn’t resist editing it a decent amount the second time around; primarily adding more vegetables and stepping up the spices. This would do well with some sweet potatoes tossed in as well, but I’m rather picky about them and only like the white, less sweet (at least to me) variety, which I haven’t come across recently. i also modified this for the crockpot, since I use mine as much as possible and particularly for soups.

Somehow it seems almost cheating to call this a soup. Up until you add the rice and then peanut butter it looks like a perfect brothy soup, bubbly happily away. But then something magic happens with the rice and the peanut butter melding to form a rich, creamy, hearty almost stew. I don’t add meat, but my husband usually tosses in chunks of cooked chicken breast in with his.

African Peanut Soup

3 TB coconut or decent olive oil
Dash of sesame oil
1 large onion chopped (I almost always use sweet onions)
1 green pepper chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped (feel free to sub with more green pepper, orange, the small sweet peppers, etc)
4 garlic cloves chopped
4 medium carrots sliced
4 cups chicken stock (I make mine and it’s actually been turkey stock lately)
2 cups water
2 cans (14 or 15 oz) diced tomatoes in their liquid
1 TB rounded curry powder (I’ve been using Penzey’s)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
2/3 cup all natural creamy peanut butter

Heat the oils over medium heat and cook onion, peppers and garlic until translucent. Meanwhile, add carrots, tomatoes, stock, water & spices to your crockpot (curry, salt, pepper & pepper flakes). Add onions & peppers when they are cooked. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high ~4. About 30 minutes prior to serving add rice. Ten minutes before serving add peanut butter and stir well to combine. Allow to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Add additional spices as desired. We’ve eaten as is or with lime and a spoonful of Greek yogurt stirred in.

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