As I’ve said in prior posts, my family eats a lot of soup through the chilly Fall and Winter months. Some lighter soups I prepare as a first course to a meal, while other more substantial versions become the meal itself. This is one of those that is hearty enough to stand alone. It has the added benefit of not only being delicious, but it’s somewhat unique. It has an interesting flavor that breaks up the monotony of all those broth-based soups. My neighbor introduced me to this beautiful soup two years ago. It is has become one of our favorites.
Take a look at all of those vegetables! Just when you think you cannot possibly add more, it’s time to put an entire bag of spinach into the pot. The veggies are just one of the many reasons to love this soup. The broth is another. It’s hefty and creamy, with just the right amount of peanut, ginger, and curry to give it that unique flavor. You may think you’re cheating by eating such an indulgent dish, but fear not– the small amount of peanut butter goes a long way here. Another reason to love this soup is that it comes together in a snap and cooks up in little time. The sweet potatoes become tender quickly, so it doesn’t need to simmer on the stove for long. Finally, the addition of chicken is a nice contrast to all of the vegetables, and makes the soup even more substantial. If you prefer, you can easily leave it out for a vegetarian version– just be sure to add a few more vegetables.
The Recipe: African Peanut Soup
Makes 4 -6 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoon curry powder
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
4 cups organic chicken stock
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed into bite size pieces
1 – 1 1/2 pounds organic/free-range chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1/2 cup or more of peanut butter (try to use a natural kind containing just ground peanuts)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 – 5 oz bag of baby spinach leaves, torn
kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper chopped
peanuts and lime wedges, for garnish
To make the soup: Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Saute on medium heat the onion, peppers, carrots, and celery until soft — about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger, and curry powder. Saute for about a minute. Add the tomatoes and bay leaf. Cook for three more minutes, so the tomatoes can reduce a bit.
Add the broth, sweet potatoes, and chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are soft. 10 – 15 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and spinach. Cook until spinach wilts. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of peanuts. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from an article in Parade Magazine, I’m told
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