Revisiting an Old Friend – Senegalese Peanut Soup

Frisee (a head of which lasted us three meals) made a nice bitter salad to pair with the soup.

I posted this recipe for Senegalese Peanut Soup in 2012, and the inhabitants of this house have felt a strong sense of nostalgia of late. Anyone else feeling that right now? That the things we loved best and haven’t had in ages are the things we crave most right now, albeit a meal or a familiar hug from a faraway family member.

So this one popped into my brain, and I decided to revisit my own recipe. I found as I ran through it, this time with Cherub (Marlowe) helping out, I thought, “Oh lord why did I have some of these stupid steps in here? And honestly, that is not enough salt.” In revisiting the original recipe it needed a bit more salt and some of the steps were unnecessary. The soup still needs time to develop the creaminess from the peanuts. Upon first glance, you’d be tempted to think it’ll never come together. The guideline of 30-60 minutes of simmering is still a good one, with 45 minutes being just right for us. And thinking in a more modern 2020 plant-based direction, this recipe could easily be made vegan, with the omission of the heavy cream.

So here’s the updated, streamlined and even better than before recipe for when you’d like to use up some pantry staples. Quarantine cooking, ammirite?

Spicy Senegalese Peanut Soup, makes a whole bunch (inspired by a recipe in The Daily Soup Cookbook)

Hands on time 20 minutes. Cooking time 30-60 minutes.

1  16 oz bag of roasted, lightly salted peanuts

2 T vegetable oil, (preferably peanut oil)

1 large Spanish onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 large or 2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, well rinsed and thinly sliced

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 t sugar

2 t curry powder

2 t ground cumin

1/2 t ground cayenne pepper

1 1/2 t salt (we used Morton’s Kosher)

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

6 c water

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 c heavy cream

In a food processor, pour in the peanuts, and process for long three to five pulses. Remove a scant 1/4 c of the peanuts and reserve. Replace the lid and puree the rest until a thick paste forms. Set aside.

In a large stock pot, add the oil and the onions, celery, leeks and garlic and sweat over medium low heat for five to seven minutes. When the vegetables are soft, add the sugar, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt and stir to coat the vegetables with the spices. Cook for two minutes. Add the tomatoes and six cups of water. Add the peanut puree and mix well to break up the paste. A large whisk works well in this task. Turn the heat to high and stir frequently until it reaches a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. We found 45 minutes to be an ideal time for simmering. Add in the cream just before serving and taste for seasoning. Add a bit more salt to taste.

Garnish with the chopped scallions and the reserved peanuts.

Playlist included The 1975, Me & You Together Song, a Marlowe favorite.

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