The peanut, goober peas, salted roasted and butter. Good stuff. Packed with protein. But the peanut is really not a nut. It is a legume in a shell that grows in the dirt. Originally from South America the lowly peanut made its way to Spain via Spanish explorers then went to Africa. From Africa it was sent to America as food on the slave ships. Not much was done with peanuts until the Civil War. Oil and food shortages meant a new appreciation for the little legume. Around the same time, the people of the Five Civilized Tribes brought the peanut into Oklahoma. The property that I own was planted with a peanut crop before the Great Depression. The food that we know and love as peanut butter made its debute at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. A doctor formulated it for elderly and infirm patients who could not chew other proteins. Now one half of the peanuts grown in the US, goes to peanut butter. Normally a soup would not be the first dish you think of made from PB but most cookbooks from the 19th century has a soup recipe in it. I made this soup last week for dinner and I love the savory aspect of a commonly thought of sweet food. I researched some peanut soup recipes and found them full of fat and very rich. This recipe is my version of one I found in a Frugal Gourmet book. The onion and carrot puree provides the thickening agent.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
8 cups Chicken Broth, homemade, canned or low sodium (with more as needed)
1 medium Sweet Onion, chopped
2 medium Carrots, peeled and grated
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt and White Ground Pepper to taste
½ to ¾ teaspoon ground Red Cayenne
½ cup cooked Brown or White Rice
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
Fine chopped salted or dry roasted Peanuts to garnish
In a medium soup pot, heat EVOO over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté about 5 minutes. Stir often so they don’t brown. Pour in chicken broth. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often. Using a blender, food processor or immersion blender puree the onions and carrots. Return puree to soup pot and add cooked rice, seasonings to taste and the cayenne powder. Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in peanut butter. Ladle into bowls, garnish with chopped nuts. Serve with hearty country style bread.