Week of Soup: Peanuts with a Bite

January 14, 2008 at 9:51 am 30 comments


I realize I wasn’t much of a lean mean posting machine last week.  I have a very good excuse for the lag.  I was busy preparing for this week.  See, this week is one I’ve been anticipating/planning for almost a month and required a little advanced cooking.  Now it’s finally time to kick off SFTF’s Week of Soup!  And, boy, do I ever have some wing-dinger recipes for you! 

My mom got me started (of course) on homemade soup when we used to can our own vegetable soup mix during the summer that then sustained us through the winter.   She didn’t have any hard-and-fast recipe.  Instead, whatever the garden was producing the most of that year is what inevitably led the chorus of flavors in the soup mix.  Surprisingly enough though, my mom rarely made other soups once she had a full larder of the vegetable mix and her other stand-by, chicken corn/noodle.   I didn’t care.  I never got tired of that vegetable soup!

The local ingredients - garlic, potatoes and onion

Once I left home for college and started working in the Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market, I took advantage of the “one hour until closing time so everything must go!” frenzy by collecting ever-changing assortments of fresh vegetables and fruits to take back to my roommates and our tiny kitchen.  Since many of these vegetables where not the pick of the litter, having sat in the market stalls for three days, I often found myself with a sack of veggies that were in a “do or die” state.  I had to do something with them right then and there or toss them in the trash.   Since a poor college student never throws food in the trash, I got creative.  Soup, my friends, was the answer almost every single time (except for the occasional salsa).  

Get those colorful veggies sauteing!

Thus ends the tale of how soup became my “thing”.  I quickly learned that just about anything can go into soup once you get the basic concept down.  In fact, after I’ve shown you a few tried-and-true recipes, I’m going to take you step-by-step through a challenge I’m issuing to myself.  Without going shopping and with no recipe to follow, I plan on making soup at the end of this week with whatever’s left in my kitchen prior to my weekly Friday night grocery run.  Should be interesting, right? 

For now, I wanted to kick things off with my favorite soup of all time, Georgia Peanut Soup.  Coincidentally, I ran into this soup for the first time also during college.  There was a great vegetarian café, the Green Café, across the river in Bethlehem that stood in as my dinner spot when I went to listen to the bands at the Fun House.  Their peanut soup was amazing.  I dutifully asked for the recipe but was told it wasn’t really up for grabs since the cook just made it as she went along.  Well, that was cool and all, but didn’t really help me out. 

This is what it's all about - peanut butter!!

Honestly, I forgot about the peanut soup once I graduated and moved to Philly.  That is, until I bought my copy of The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Soups and saw what could only be a great starting recipe for my beloved peanut soup.  After dabbling with it over the years, I think it’s just about a perfect replica of the Green Café’s version.  It packs quite the punch of spicy heat with the rich creamy peanut flavor acting as a nice counterbalance. And of course all that peanut butter makes the soup stick to your ribs.  

Georgia Peanut Soup

As with almost all soups, the vegetables in this recipe can be traded out for something similar that you might have on hand.  Turnips could work in place of the potatoes, and peas could easily stand in for the corn.  Just be sure to use the chunkiest peanut butter you can find and add the chopped roasted peanuts to garnish; there’s just something special about getting those nutty crunchy bites!

Adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Soup

2 T. peanut oil
1 large onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 t. cayenne pepper
2 bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 c. minced carrots
1 1/2 c. chopped potatoes
3 celery stalks, sliced
3 1/2 c. vegetable stock
7 T. chunky peanut butter
2/3 c. corn kernels
salt and freshly ground pepper
roughly chopped roasted peanuts to garnish

Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Once hot, add onion and garlic and cook for three minutes.  Add the cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt and cook for another minute. 

Add the bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, and celery.  Season lightly with a little salt and pepper.  Stir well and cook for four minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the vegetable stock, peanut butter and corn kernels, stirring until thoroughly combined. 

Season well with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.  Adjust the seasoning one last time before serving and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

(serves 6)

Georgia Peanut Soup in the cool mug I got in Ireland

Entry filed under: Recipes, Soup. Tags: , , , , .

Show Some Love Week of Soup: Sassy Salsa

30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. taylor  |  January 14, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Can’t wait for the challenge. Judging by what’s in my fridge now, I think I can make the most disgusting soup ever. Like I said, can’t wait!

  • 2. vegily  |  January 14, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    mmmm. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I love soups and this sounds like one that will spice up my life 🙂

  • 3. Jennie  |  January 14, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Taylor – Wanna post your “disgusting” (I doubt that) soup on Mac & Cheese on Friday and we’ll make it an official bloggers challenge? That is if two bloggers make a challenge official. 😉

    Vegily – This will definitely spice up your life! 🙂

  • 4. chiff0nade  |  January 14, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Well since I beat a hasty retreat out of Brooklyn (legal problems of sorts) and moved to Florida, I have learned to love peanut soup. Of course, I can’t make it for my boyfriend “Big Bear” because he has no teeth left and has to have something that is mostly broth.

    Even though I am a PROFESSIONAL CHEF educated at Peter Kump’s Culinary Institute in Brooklyn, I learn about new soups all the time. By the way, I have a couple of professional soup recipes on my internationally-famous website.

    Now that I am a senior advisor for Serious Eats website, I will pass the word around about your peanut soup.

  • 5. Jennie  |  January 14, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Chffonande – Cool! Thanks!

  • 6. Josh Miller  |  January 14, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    I loved the peanut soup at the Green Cafe (I went there in college too)… Green cafe is gone now, but the chef opened her own restaurant in Emmaus, PA and it’s incredible. It’s called Balasia http://www.balasia.net/ and it’s an amazing local, vegetarian, organic restaurant. Oh, they have penut soup and it’s still incredible!

  • 7. Jennie  |  January 15, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Josh – Hola, fellow (former?) Lehigh Valleyian! I’m so glad you know/love the peanut soup too!

    Thanks for the update about the Green Cafe…I had a suspicion it might have gone out of business as I meant to stop in there about a year ago while visiting B-hem and couldn’t seem to find it again. I figured my memory was just shot but I guess it wasn’t afterall. 🙂 I’ll definitely be making a trip to Balasia next time instead now that I know about it.

  • 8. renae68  |  January 15, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Sounds delicious! I have a (sort of) related post at http://rbcoffeetalk.blogspot.com . Look for the post called “Peanuts to Diamonds.”

    Great site! Thanks for all the great recipes – I’ll visit again!

  • 9. Jennie  |  January 15, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Thanks, Renae! I’ll have to check out your post.

  • 10. Kevin  |  January 15, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Peanut soup sounds really interesting! Bookmarked to try later.

  • 11. jordan  |  January 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    this is such an interesting recipe. It was easy to make and was fantastic to beat. i make veggie soup from the veggies i order from Celebrity Foods but this has placed a whole new spin on my soup now. Thank you so much!

  • […] far she’s offered up a recipe for peanut soup that I find absolutely delicious-sounding, as well as recipe for chilled tomatillo soup that was a […]

  • […] after reading Jennie’s positive description). So far she’s offered up a recipe for peanut soup that I find absolutely delicious-sounding, as well as recipe for chilled tomatillo soup that was a […]

  • 14. Alvin  |  January 19, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Thanks so much for the recipe Jenn. Its just thing thing for a cold weekend.

    oh and I love your blog!

  • 15. Jennie  |  January 20, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Thanks, Alvin! Glad you enjoyed the soup!

  • 16. Week of Bread: The Basics « Straight from the Farm  |  January 28, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    […] how does one follow up a fun and highly successful blog event like SFTF’s Week of Soup?  With an SFTF Week of Bread, of course!  Only this time I suspect this particular theme is going […]

  • 17. DMBLGIT February 2008: The Roundup  |  March 9, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    […] The second place overall winner is Georgia Peanut Soup from Jennie Love’s blog Straight from the Farm. […]

  • 18. I’m Blushing… « Straight from the Farm  |  March 12, 2008 at 7:55 am

    […] My picture of Georgia Peanut Soup got a red ribbon for the DMBLGIT February 2008 contest.  Original post and recipe are here.  […]

  • 19. Sophie A.  |  March 24, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    This is such a cool soup! I know what you mean about college kids not letting anything go to waste! As a recent college grad, I still can’t bring myself to waste (hence my need to use leftover hamburger buns to make egg sandwiches :). I love your blog – love the idea of using local, fresh ingredients – everything looks so deliciously healthy!

  • 20. Jennie  |  March 24, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Sophie – We seem to be kindred spirits who share a love for thirfty and fresh ideas in the kitchen. So glad you stopped by and commented! 🙂 Feel free to share your ideas for hamburger buns and more any time! 🙂

  • […] winter I did some thematic weeks of posting, including two separate Week of Soup events.  These proved to be a very popular series here on SFTF so I know several of you love soup […]

  • […] Fool Over Old-Fashioned Angel Food Cake.  That and the Roasted Rosemary Potato Leek Soup and the Georgia Peanut Soup and the Honey-Ginger Carrot Parsnip Latkes and the Roasted Root and Ricotta Pizza and the Roasted […]

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