Weekend Soup: Spicy Carrot Peanut
It’s a feast of color for the eyes, and a feast of flavor for the tastebuds!
For this weekend’s soup recipe, we travel to Southeast Asia for inspiration, where peanuts are often used in sauces and condiments. In this soup, the nuttiness of the peanuts plays in the background, while the spicy chiles, carrots, and garlic take front row seats. You can make this soup with ingredients most of us usually have on hand in the pantry — carrots (a full 2 lb bag — think of all the Vitamin A and C you’re getting!), onions, garlic, celery, soy sauce, peanuts or peanut butter, juice of a lime, and crushed red pepper. If you have an immersion blender, you can make quick work of blending the soup with it (my immersion blender has a firm spot in my list of top 5 useful pieces of kitchen equipment*); otherwise, just blend it in batches in a blender or food processor. I like to garnish it with some chopped cilantro, a lime wedge or two, and a sprinkling of chopped peanuts. It was cold here today, and this spicy soup really warmed our bellies!
The original recipe is from the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special, a cookbook full of recipes for soups, stews, salads, and other related goodies. It calls for Asian chili garlic sauce, which I had at one point, but when cleaning out my fridge the other week, I found the bottle of it at the back and realized I couldn’t remember (a) when I had purchased it, or (b) when I had last used it. Neither boded well for how long that bottle had been in there…so sadly, it got the boot. Since I don’t buy chili garlic sauce on a regular basis, the recipe below is made without it, but rather uses a combination of crushed red pepper flakes and minced garlic cloves. If you had a fresh chile hanging around, that would be terrific to use in lieu of the crushed red pepper flakes.
Incidentally, this recipe is also my entry into the No Croutons Required food blogging event, started this month by Lisa’s Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes. Each month, they’re inviting bloggers from around the world to submit a recipe for a vegetarian soup or salad, and this month’s theme is simply vegetarian soups. They’ll be posting a roundup of all the submissions later on this month, and you can vote for your favorite vegetarian soup in the comments section. Should be fun, and I can’t wait to see what other vegetarian soups are submitted — I’m always looking for new ideas!
So without further ado, here’s the recipe. Savor those spoonfuls of spicy carrot peanut soup, and stay warm!
*Rounding out my list of top 5 pieces of kitchen equipment – besides immersion blender – are my enameled cast iron dutch oven, my heavy-duty aluminum half-sheet pans, my chef’s knife, and my myriad silicone spatulas. Though, now that I’m thinking about this, I might have to make it top 6 – I don’t know what I’d do without my Kitchen Aid mixer!
Spicy Carrot Peanut Soup
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special
1 tbsp canola oil
2 onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 lb organic carrots, sliced fairly thinly (don’t go crazy, but you don’t want thick chunks, either. Shoot for 1/4-1/2 inch slices.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like it (or use a fresh chile, stemmed and chopped)
1 tsp coarse salt
6 cups water
2 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
3 tbsp soy sauce
juice of half a lime
For garnish: chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts, lime wedges
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat, then add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, salt, crushed red pepper flakes and saute until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are soft, about 25-30 minutes.
Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, and lime juice, and stir until the peanut butter melts into the soup. Puree the soup until smooth, using either an immersion blender or a food processor/blender (if using the latter, you’ll need to puree in batches.) Taste the soup and adjust the salt, if needed (though I usually find the 1 tsp originally added is enough.)
Serve garnished with chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts, and/or lime wedges.