Friday, January 29, 2010

African Peanut Soup with Chicken

I can’t precisely remember what led me to make this peanut soup. I think I was cruising through food blog space and saw Gluten-Free Girl’s post on Marcus Samuelsson’s new book, The Soul of a New Cuisine, and that mouth-watering photo of those squash and apple fritters. Ever since I’ve had African-inspired food on the brain.

I don’t know about you but I always think peanut stews when I think African cuisine. Mark Bittman contributed one such recipe in his Minimalist column last June in the New York Times so I thought that would be a good place to start. After reading through a handful of other recipes, I came up with the following version – a smoother textured soup with a spicier kick.  

This is delicious hot off the stove but even better reheated the next day.   

African Peanut Soup with Chicken
More of a stew, this thick, flavorful soup goes well with a scoop of brown rice. 

3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper
½ tablespoon curry powder
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeño, diced
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups chicken stock
28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
1 pound yams (1 large or 2 small), peeled and diced
1/3 cup crushed, roasted peanuts
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed and cut into ribbons 

In a large pot over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoon peanut oil until hot. Add chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink and just beginning to color, 6-8 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
In the same pot over medium heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add curry powder and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add onions and cook for 4 minutes more. Add the garlic, ginger, jalapeño and cayenne and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Add the stock, entire can of tomatoes and the diced yam. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and pulse, leaving it with a bit of texture. Return soup to pot and add chicken pieces along with any juices collected on the plate plus 1/3 cup crushed peanuts. Cover and simmer over low for 10 minutes. 

Swirl in 1/3 cup peanut butter until dissolved. Stir in kale, cover and let simmer on low for 10 minutes or until kale is tender.

Season to taste. Serve hot garnished with crushed peanuts and freshly chopped cilantro or green scallions.

1 comment:

Talley said...

Yum! sounds fantastic. will have to try it soon.