African Sweet Potato & Peanut Soup

Spring has been reticent here in Chicago. With each seasonably warm day comes a discouraging string of unseasonably dark, cold, and windy days. But we must make lemonade out of lemons! And so I’ve come to view the capriciousness of the seasons as a time to continue my hibernation, cooking up big vats of richly flavored soups, ideally full of my favorite winter vegetable – sweet potatoes!

This deceptively hearty soup is in actuality quite light and invigorating, with its abundance of vegetables, deeply layered flavor profile, and decisively spicy kick. It provides you with a cherry little bowl of nutrition, no matter how dour your climate may presently be. I also love it for its vibrantly orange color and ability to rally the spirits on a frigid, gloomy night in April where you find yourself wondering why you’ve chosen to live in a climate where such temperatures dare to show themselves past March.

As always, homemade vegetable stock really does make all the difference. If you can’t find the exquisitely sharp, aromatic wonder that is hot smoked Spanish paprika at your local specialty grocery store, I highly recommend ordering a jar from The Spice House. Their spices are not only fresher than anything you’re likely to find at the supermarket, but also much cheaper.

African Sweet Potato & Peanut Soup
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 massive white onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
5 carrots, chopped
2 massive sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked Spanish paprika
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more to taste
a few grinds of black pepper
15 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
6 cups vegetable stock (homemade preferred)
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
a few green onions, chopped

brown rice, for serving

1.) In a large Dutch Oven or pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to take on some color and glaze the pan; 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add carrots, sweet potatoes, and spices. Give everything a few big stirs to evenly coat the vegetables with the spices. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally .

2.) Add tomatoes and stock and scrape up all of the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the pan with your spoon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes; until vegetables are fork-tender.

3.) Using a potato masher or a large fork, break up as many chunks of sweet potato as you can into smaller bits, giving you a richly textured pot of potato bits.

4.) Increase heat to medium and add the peanut butter. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until peanut butter is thoroughly combined. Serve over brown rice and with green onions sprinkled over the top. As usual, this is even more delightful the next day, when the flavors have had a chance to mesh together and mellow out a bit.

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11 responses to “African Sweet Potato & Peanut Soup

  1. I have never tried the African peanut soups I hear so much about. This looks fantastic!

  2. I agree that this wacky weather is so tormenting – one day I want spring veggies, the next a warm, hearty soup. I love how you say you need 2 massive sweet potatoes. I recently made a spicy Indonesian yam and peanut soup, and I bought some yams… I needed 700g. I bought 3, with one for a second recipe. The largest one I bought tipped the scale at 1.1kg! I ended up using 900g of yam from smallest one I picked. Eek! These were definitely monster yams. :)

    • They can be quite beastly! I just returned from Puerto Rico and was lucky enough to go to one of their most famous farmer’s markets. I saw yams larger than I’ve ever seen before. Literally, far larger than footballs!!! Blog post coming soon ;-)

  3. Your soup looks soooo good! Im allergic to peanuts, but I think I’ll try it with macadamia nuts (they’re one of my favorite nuts).
    Thanks for visiting my blog : )
    For chia gel, just mix about 2 tbsp of chia seeds with 2 cups of water. Set it in the fridge, or on the counter for about 30 minutes, and it will have turned into a crunchy gel. It’s so nice to have on hand because the chia has already swelled, and it won’t turn your morning smoothie into a thick pudding.

    • Thanks for the info! I can’t wait to try out my very first batch of chia seed gel ;) And I bet the macadamia nuts will be divine. If you try it out, do let me know how it goes!

  4. I love this idea- so excited to try it. Thanks for posting. :)

  5. thehungrypanda

    this looks excellent. so many great flavors, i will definitely have to try this out.

  6. Hi Emily, do you think I can substitute the peanut butter to raw almont butter without ruining the texture? Thanks!

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