I got the opportunity to make this soup for a women's get together - Our host lived in a home built in the time of Jefferson's era and Monticello and we were excited to get a tour of the house. The theme for the potluck was also colonial. When the wonderful lady that organizes the events wrote to us the food she wanted brought, I plumped for the peanut soup - 1) another great soup to my repertoire 2) more importantly, I was for the first time in 10 years of living here making an authentic Virginian recipe - how cool was that! This soup is said to have some roots in Africa and could've have come to the US when the slaves were brought in (not times I like to dwell upon). But the fact that Virginia is so well known for peanuts, make it easy to assume that they found various uses for their peanuts and the soup was one of them.
I have made it twice so far, an this be my third attempt - Both the earlier occasions, I missed out on taking pictures, but this time I made the soup just to take the pictures, lol
I got this recipe off the web from Colonial Williamsburg's old King's Arms Tavern The recipe is quite simple and absolutely delicious. But it is pretty bland and using a little all spice and nutmeg took the soup to a whole new level of satisfaction
For those who know me well, I tried to make a less-guilty more contemporary version of this highly rich and fatty soup - without a single compromise to the taste, I guarantee.
So here goes.
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (substitute with 1tbsp olive oil)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour (NOT required - Soup is creamy and thick enough without this)
- 8 cups Chicken Stock* (or low-salt canned chicken stock)This I definitely substituted with Trader Joe's Vegetable broth)
- 2 cups smooth peanut butter (I used the natural kind from Skippy)
- 1 ¾ cups light cream or half-and-half (You can safely cut this down by a half or even less)
- Finely chopped salted peanuts, for garnish
- In a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat ,heat the oil. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, three-five minutes.
- Stir in flour and cook two minutes longer.
- Pour in the broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until slightly reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Pour into a sieve set over a large bowl and strain, pushing hard on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Return the liquid to the sauce pan or pot.
- Whisk the peanut butter and the cream into the liquid. Warm over low heat, whisking often, for about five minutes. Do not boil.
- Serve warm, garnished with the chopped peanuts.
A perfect soup for winter days and autumn days, rainy days and basically any day :) Enjoy with friends and family - A lot more cooking chez moi - will be back soon with another winner recipe :)
Check my Facebook page for more pictures about the process