Sunday, August 31, 2008

Culinary Creations: African Peanut Soup

Two years ago we spent two weeks in Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. I've been to Savannah several times before, so knew what to expect, but this was my first time in Charleston. We were both completely blown away by the food. We've done quite a bit of traveling, and have eaten in some amazing places, but the people of Charleston are truly privileged by what lies on their doorstep. It is my ideal "Food Heaven". After spending the first half of the week in the historical center of Charleston, we headed out to stay at the Inn at Middleton Place. There was a lovely restaurant, where the dining room is in a conservatory type setting, that serve traditional Low Country food with a modern twist. At lunch, they offer a three course meal, in which we chose the Peanut Soup for our first course. That proved to be a good choice, and we ended up having it twice. While the food is good there, it should be noted that they are a "dry county" on Sunday, so no alcohol what so ever. As no one mentioned it to us when making reservations, it was a bit of a surprise. James opted for juice of some sort and I ordered an "Arnold Palmer". Our server informed me that I couldn't have that as they didn't serve lemonade in the evenings... Ok? Anyway, here is a recipe that was similar to the soup we had there.

* Saute one large onion, chopped, in olive oil until just transparent. Then add one pound of chopped potatoes, 3 ribs of chopped celery, 1 chopped red pepper, 1 pound chopped carrots, 1 chopped tomato, 1 clove chopped garlic. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.

* Next add 3 3/4 cups of vegetable stock, then 7 tbsp of crunchy peanut butter, and 2/3 cups of corn, followed by a few splashes of hot sauce (my recommendation will follow in a different post). You can add as little or much as you like, but I add about 5 splashes, then more after if needed. Mix until peanut butter is blended.

* Then bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Once vegetable are tender, you can use a hand blender to to puree part of the mixture and leave half chunky, or blend all for a smooth soup.

* We decided to puree just half of the soup, then garnished with with chopped, unsalted peanuts. While we really enjoyed it, we did puree the left overs, which we both agreed had a nicer taste.

The Inn at Middleton Place:
Middleton Place:


Jane King said...

I think i am definately going to try this it looks really tasty is it like satay? I love satay sauce and this looks like it YUM :-P

Amy Jemima said...

Actually, mine did taste a lot like satay! I don't remember the one we had in Charleston tasting like satay, but this one really did.