I admit it: I stalked skeptically around the concept of this West African peanut soup for several weeks before finally taking a deep breath and diving in.
Peanut butter? In soup?
I love nut butters as much as the next girl, but, honestly. Peanut butter … and tomatoes. My culinary senses were reeling.
A staple in many African countries, West African peanut soup, or groundnut stew, features simple, familiar ingredients in inspired combinations. I tempered my trepidation of peanut butter in soup by replacing half with almond butter. (I know, that makes absolutely no sense, the two being so similar. And I’m not sure it made a difference in the final product, but I felt better about it.)
I felt better about it, especially after I learned first-hand how addictive West African soup is. Addictive. Especially with a good dose of sriracha for seasoning. (Cayenne is more traditional, but I can’t resist sneaking in sriracha whenever and wherever.) Often made with chicken, I prepared it vegetarian (vegan, actually, and gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free to boot).
My only regret is that I waited so long to try West African peanut soup — it’s a deeply comforting soup that would’ve brightened the cold, dreary winter.
That won’t stop me from serving it over and over this spring, though.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 sweet potato, sliced into small dices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup natural almond butter (or use all peanut butter)
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 3 to 4 collard green leaves, stems removed, sliced into narrow strips
- 1 to 3 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- 1 scallion, sliced, for garnish
- chopped peanuts or slivered almonds for garnish
- Heat the oil in a 4 or 5 quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat until shimmering. Saute the onions and sweet potatoes until the potatoes are golden with brown edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and mix thoroughly with the vegetables. Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Increase heat to medium-high and let the soup come to a gentle boil.
- Spoon the nut butters into heat-proof bowl. Ladle 1 cup of the hot soup into the bowl and stir, gently at first, until the liquid combines with the nut butters, then with more vigor, until the mixture is very smooth and loose.
- Pour the nut butter mixture into the soup, and add the collard greens and sriracha sauce (1 tablespoon for gentle heat; 3 tablespoons for a more assertive heat). Reduce heat to medium-low, and allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish generously with the scallions and nuts.