When the wind is blowing and it's snowing outside, few things are more comforting than a bowl of soup. If you want to branch out from the standard chicken noodle, try making this West African peanut soup. Flavored with ginger, fenugreek, cubeb, and nutmeg, it has a warm, spicy flavor. Peanut butter and sweet potatoes make it smooth and creamy.
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cubeb pepper*
- 3/4 teaspoon fenugreek*
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup scallions, sliced thinly
* These spices may be difficult to find in your local grocery store. Look for them through online vendors who specialize in African foods.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the onions, and saute them just until they begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the ginger and carrots, and continue cooking over medium heat for another 2 - 3 minutes. Do not allow the ginger to get any darker than a golden brown.
Pour the vegetable stock into the pan, and also add the sweet potatoes, nutmeg, cubeb, and fenugreek. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Then, reduce the heat to low and place a cover on the pot. Simmer for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes and carrot are very soft when tested with a fork.
Remove the pot from the heat, and pour half of the soup into a food processor. Process until smooth, and then pour into a separate bowl. Process the second half of the soup in the same manner. Return both portions of the soup to the Dutch oven.
Add the tomato juice, salt and sugar to the soup, and bring it to a simmer. Taste it to ensure it is properly salted. Continue simmering for 15 - 20 minutes, allowing the soup to thicken slightly. Remove the soup from the heat, and stir in the peanut butter. Keep stirring until the ingredients are fully combined.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Top each with some chopped scallions. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
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