Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nuts!

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child






Temperatures are muggy and in the low 80s still. (Very unfall-like weather, that's for sure.)  But, I was in the mood for soup.  I braved the heat and got down to business, and by the time Chris came home an hour later, I had a nice weeknight meal ready for us.

Sassy Peanut Soup

1 TBS Sesame oil (you can use peanut oil too, but I like sesame oil better for this recipe)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS red pepper flakes
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
4 cups unsalted chicken stock (broth is fine too)
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1-2 TBS Thai peanut sauce
Dash of ground coriander
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 Tsp super fine sugar (this cuts the acid in the tomatoes, but if your peanut butter is really sweet, you may not need it)
1 TBS fresh cilantro, minced
Salt to taste (a couple Tsps)
Drop or two of liquid smoke (optional)


To do:

  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and let cook for about a minute, stirring constantly--don't let the garlic burn.  
  • Add the tomatoes, stock/broth, peanut butter and peanut sauce, and whisk until combined. Bring to a boil and then immediately lower heat to a simmer. 
  • Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes, adjusting seasonings to your taste--keep checking the flavor as it cooks. It should be a nice balance of salty, spicy, creamy and nutty--with just a hint of sweet. (It should not just taste like warm peanut butter.) Adding the liquid smoke takes it to a whole new level, so if you can find it in your store, I recommend it!
  • Serve this spunky soup in bowls and top with more fresh cilantro.  And chopped peanuts if you have some. (If you want to make it more of a stew or a heartier meal, you can also add in any number of things at the end, like: diced cooked chicken, rice, chickpeas, or cubed cooked sweet potatoes.)

This is the star of the meal, so don't go to crazy with sides that might compete with the flavor of the soup. I served this with pitas that I cut in half and stuffed with thinly sliced red and green bell peppers, white American cheese (great for melts), sliced grilled chicken and fresh cilantro.  I brushed both sides of the pita bread with olive oil and put them under the broiler for about 4 minutes on each side, until melty.

Yum!

xoxoxo

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