West African Peanut Soup
2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon of vegetable or peanut oil
1/2 tsp. dried cayenne or ground dried chilies
1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups chopped sweet potatoes (or substitute up to 1 cup of white potatoes)
4 cups vegetable stock (or water)
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbs sugar (optional -- if needed)
chopped scallions or chives ("an integral element, not just a garnish")
Saute the onions in the oil in a large pot until just translucent (about 7 minutes.)
Stir in the cayenne and ginger.
Add carrots and saute a few more minutes.
Mix in the potatoes and stock, bring the soup to a boil, and then simmer for
about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Remove from heat.
With your handy dandy immersion blender, puree all that
jazz. Or transfer to a regular blender in batches, but be careful not to burn yourself, it's hot!
Stir in the tomato juice.
Return to heat.
Add peanut butter, stir until smooth.
Taste it and add some sugar if the vegetables are not quite sweet enough.
Thin with more tomato juice or water if you want a thinner soup.
Serve topped with those integral scallions.
Measurements are, as always, an approximate thing. I like to use a little more ginger and my Mom likes a little less Cayenne. I frequently use too many sweet potatoes, but DON'T use the white potatoes unless you absolutely have to - the flavor and consistency don't come out the same at all. Ick. Feel free to save time by chopping those veggies with your food processor - they all go in the blender in the end, anyway. And don't skimp on the peanut butter! In fact, add a bit more if you want - I always end up trying to disguise the taste of tomato juice because I don't like it, so I add peanut butter until I get there. And the recipe is right about the scallions, they add something to the taste.