Although Autum is my favorite time of year, one thing saddens me is the final cleaning off of the garden. At the prospect of frost tonight, I've brought in my peppers, tomatoes, squashes, broccoli, carrots and brussels sprouts. Deciding to pay homage to them tonight for dinner, I first thought about doing a vegetable laden pasta combo, but then, reminded by mention of another thread here, I've decided to make peanut soup.
For those of you who haven't experienced peanut soup, you are truly missing out on true hedonism. It's delicious hot or cold, can serve as a side for most any meal, and hearty enough to stand alone. There are several interpretations of peanut soup, the most common one being this one from The Wayside Inn in Middletown Virginia. The Wayside is the true grandaddy of all roadfood, as it is the oldest hotel/eatery in the United States, dating from the mid 1700's.
The Wayside Inn Peanut Soup
3 1/2 cups chicken broth or two 14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth
1 stalk celery, cut up
1 medium onion, cut up
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 13-ounce can evaporated milk or light cream
Dash of sugar
In large saucepan combine broth, celery, carrot, and onion. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Strain, discarding vegetables.
In same saucepan, gradually stir the hot broth into the peanut butter.(Mixture may stiffen at first, but will become smooth.)
Add evaporated milk and a dash of sugar. Heat through, but DO NOT BOIL. Serve hot or cold with chopped peanuts over top.
The variety I'm making tonight is more of an African based variation, rich with vegetables. This recipe is a large one because I do a lot of it at a time and freeze part.
African Peanut Soup
3 quarts chicken stock
1 stick butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
2 large green bell peppers chopped
1 large yellow squash, sliced
1 large yam or sweet potato sliced
3 stalks celery chopped
1 small hot roasted chili pepper
4 TBLSP minced garlic
6 fresh tomatoes chopped
1 lb sliced carrots or baby carrots
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
salt and pepper to taste
4 TBLSP Brown Sugar
Saute' onions, peppers, squash, celery and carrots until slightly translucent and wilted. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer softly for two to three hours.Strain liquid into another pot, preferably using a colander so you can mash the cooked vegetables some and get a bit of puree' through..Return pan of liquid to stove.
To this add:
1 quart half and half
3 cups crunchy peanut butter
6 tablespoons of flour mixed with some of the half and half to make a roux.
Add ingredients to liquid and stir well. LEt simmer on very low heat for about 20 minute or else all peanut butter is assimilated. Serve hot or cold with chopped peanuts and scallions on top.