This stunning soup is based on an everyday ingredient, peanut butter. Although it’s beautiful enough for a special occasion, you can serve it every day. Photo courtesy RiceSelect.com.
Last Updated September 2015
Recipe: Senegalese Peanut Soup
With Spicy Rice Timbales*
Also see this recipe for Southern Peanut Soup
While this recipe has a spicy African accent, true to the goober’s African roots, peanut soup was also a traditional American dish. It was popular in Colonial days, and can still be found on some Southern menus. If you visit Colonial Williamsburg, you can order it at the King’s Arms Tavern (where they also make their Cream of Peanut Soup with peanut butter) and other on-site restaurants. It’s delicious—here’s the recipe. Also check out the peanut soup mixes from Montebello Kitchen—a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.
In Africa, peanuts are called pinder and goober, words that crossed the Atlantic. Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington called peanuts “peendar” and “pindars.” Southern Colonials planted peanuts as fodder for pigs, and their slaves used the peanut to make peanut pie and peanut soup. The word goober came into fashion in the 19th century, and the Civil War song “Eating Goober Peas” was published attributed to the composer and lyricist, A. Pindar and P. Nutt.
The Republic of Senegal, on the north coast of West Africa, makes a peanut soup is made with tomatoes, onion, bell peppers and chile powder. Here, using salsa instead of those ingredients makes this recipe a snap. Follow this soup course with a main course of roast chicken, roast or grilled pork or a grilled dark-meat fish.
The peanut, by the way, is not a nut but a legume, a member of the family that includes beans, peas and lentils. The American word evolved between 1790 and 1800, from its the obvious fact that the meats grew two or three to a pod, like a pea, but emerged durable and ready-to-eat, like a nut.
*A timbale is a cone shaped mold—the name is derived from the word “thimble.”
- 1¼ cups chipotle salsa
- 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 cans low-sodium chicken broth, 14.5 ounces each
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 3 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro sprigs
- Vegetable cooking spray
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- 4 custard cups
Place the salsa in a strainer, pressing down lightly to remove the excess liquid. Reserve the salsa in a medium bowl.
Combine the peanut butter, broth and coconut milk in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 8 to 10 minutes, whisking frequently.
Meanwhile, in the medium bowl with the reserved salsa, add the rice and chopped cilantro. Divide the rice mixture evenly into 4 custard cups coated with cooking spray, pressing down firmly to set.
To serve, invert each custard cup in the center of a soup bowl. Remove the cup and spoon hot soup around the molded rice. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Here’s another peanut soup recipe from Colonial Williamsburg.
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