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Ahem. I know, I’ve been completely missing in action, and owe you, oh I don’t know…about fifteen recipes. But, as a peace offering, I’ve brought you some soup. Because when I have a choice, I always go for the simplest and most satisfying bowl of food I can find. Let’s wipe the slate clean and start with this, because you’re going to want this recipe in your arsenal.  It’s hearty and filling, takes about half an hour with minimal parental supervision required, and tastes both exotic and familiar all at once. Plus, added bonus – it’s both vegan and gluten free, but doesn’t taste like you’re giving up a thing. Totally unintentional home run.

Your (not so) secret ingredient on the very short list of things you need is peanut butter. Together with tomato paste, is creates a smooth, creamy base for the soup that is vaguely reminiscent of Southeast Asian cuisines. Hence, my addition of Sriracha – not that I ever need an excuse. Feel free to substitute this with any other hot sauce you prefer, but don’t skip it entirely because the soup needs it. Rounding out this motley crew of ingredients is a bunch of ginger and sliced ribbons of collard greens. It’s an odd assortment for sure, but please believe me when I say you will be pleasantly surprised by how they all come together. The tomato paste gives the soup a deep flavor that totally fools people into thinking it must have taken ages to make. Which is just what you want, right?

African Peanut Soup with Brown Rice and Collard Greens

Recipe via Cookie and Kate

6 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 bunch collard greens, ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips

¾ cup unsalted peanut butter

½ cup tomato paste

Hot sauce, like sriracha (no pressure)

Cooked brown rice for serving

¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish

In a medium stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

Combine the peanut butter and tomato paste in a medium bowl, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well. Stir in the collard greens and season the soup with hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. Serve over cooked brown rice and if you’d like, top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.

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