Peanut Soup

IMG_1297eEvery time I think about ruthlessly winnowing down my extensive cookbook collection, which takes up more space and collects more dust than I’m comfortable with, it just so happens that I will be idly thumbing through a long-forgotten tome and come across a recipe that turns out to be a real winner.

That’s the thing about print, if I may be allowed a librarianly aside.  No doubt I can find any number of iterations of peanut soup on the Internet.  Some of them will have been tested and some of them won’t, but I can certainly apply my critical skills to perusing as many of them as I have patience for, and decide which one to use.  But with a printed cookbook, there’s something so familiar and comforting about the leisurely progression through the pages and the finding of hidden gems.  Not to mention that there’s a kind of perverse, old-fashioned-seeming ease to just taking the book into the kitchen and cooking from it.  With recipes I find on my computer, I have to either print them, email them to myself on my iPad or phone, or re-search them on the phone or pad.  Then there’s the hassle of cooking from the screen, which I have yet to master satisfactorily, though I have certainly done it enough.   I think I’ll keep my books a little longer.

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In any case, I found this recipe in a very old cookbook set called Great Meals in Minutes.  I adapted it to my own tastes quite a bit so I’m not going to copy it straight out of the book, but rather I’m going to tell you how I did it.  Since this comes from the …in Minutes series, it’s no surprise that it was quick and easy.  Next time I plan to cook some rice separately and add it at the end.  And it can easily become vegetarian with just a broth substitution.

Peanut Soup
serves 4-6

1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
1 cup peanut butter
for garnish and accompaniment, all optional:
diced tomatoes
sliced green onions
lime wedges
chopped peanuts
red pepper flakes
chopped cilantro
In a saucepan, heat olive oil.  Sauté onion and garlic until soft.  Add curry powder and cook for a minute.  Add broth, coconut milk, and peanut butter.  Heat at a simmer until slightly thickened.  Serve with any or all of the garnishes.

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