It is a rainy Halloween here in the Pacific Northwest where I live. We live in town, so I imagine we’ll have some trick or treaters tonight, but I’m guessing parents might cut things a little shorter than usual due to the weather. We often will dress up or wear masks to greet the trick or treaters when they arrive at our door, which is fun.
It is, however, a perfect night for some hearty soup. Today I’ve got a recipe that goes back to when my husband and I first met low those many years ago. He took me to a wonderful independent bookstore up in Bellingham, Washington (and it’s been so long I don’t even remember the name of the place anymore) that had a small cafe attached, and there he suggested that I try a soup that I had never tasted before but which he liked–African Peanut Soup. Made with chicken, peanut butter, tomatoes and ginger, it is a very thick and rich soup that is quite filling. (And food has always been a big part of our relationship, even from the very beginning, and remains so to today:) During the colder months we often make this easy and delicious soup for dinner, and it’s still one of our favorites.
African Peanut Soup
Makes: approximately 2 generous quarts
Prep and cook time: approximately 1 hour 10 minutes
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 pounds (32 oz.) fresh or canned diced tomatoes, divided
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 cup (8 oz.) peanut butter (organic chunky is nice)
3 cups (24 oz.) chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1 pound boned and diced uncooked chicken breast or thighs (see note below for using cooked leftover chicken)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons all-purpose white flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Heat a soup pot on medium heat. Add the ground ginger, garlic powder,chili powder, one pound of the diced tomatoes, onion and peanut butter. Add the chicken broth, diced uncooked chicken, and the second pound of diced tomatoes, and use a long spoon to mix everything together evenly.
2. Mix the melted butter and 2 Tablespoons of flour together to form a smooth paste, and then stir it into the soup.
3. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer, with the lid on, for one hour. Serve warm.
(Note: If you happen to have a couple of cups of leftover cooked chicken, you can substitute it for the uncooked chicken in the last 15 minutes of the cooking time so it has a chance to heat through. If you use pre-cooked chicken, you can also reduce the overall cooking time from one hour to around 30 minutes.)
This soup is very good with a green salad with your favorite vinaigrette, or my Northwest Harvest Salad, a soft whole wheat dinner roll with butter and a glass of dry white wine, a hoppy lager or an India Pale Ale, both of which beers are on the dry side, because the soup has a very subtle sweetness due to the peanuts and the ginger combination, so the dry beverages add a nice contrast.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Have you ever tried African Peanut Soup before? Where did you taste it for the first time? I’d love to hear from you in the comments, so stop by for a visit!
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Till next time,
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