I think my mother introduced me to the African Peanut Soup at the Brushmark Restaurant at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Since my first exposure to peanut soup, I’ve tried many variations which include yams or sweet potatoes. The soup shares a history with the slave trade here in North America making it a notable contribution of African American cuisine.
While I enjoy versions of the soup that include yams or sweet potatoes, the child in me reaches for my earliest memories of the soup when I dined at The Brushmark. The museum closed the restaurant in preparation for a centennial celebration planned for late Spring of 2016. I’m uncertain if the much loved soup will return to the menu when The Brushmark reopens.
The Commercial Appeal published the restaurant recipe over 10 years ago, but the article appears to be unavailable at present on their website. I saved a list of the ingredients many years ago, but the directions that came with it really didn’t match the ingredients (There are vague references to rice). This recipe re-construction includes the basic ingredients with new substitutions and deletions (see
strike-throughs and red additions) and new directions. I branched out, but you could easily stick with the original ingredients. Some peanut soup recipes call for more exotic spices and ingredients, but this comforting soup offers easily obtainable components and great use of leftover chicken.
African Peanut Soup
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 red or
greenyellow bell peppers, chopped (or 1 of each)
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups cooked, diced chicken
- 2 quarts
chickenvegetable stock or broth
- 1 large can (28 ounces)
Italianfire roasted tomatoes, chopped, with juice
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2/3 cup
creamycrunchy, natural peanut butter 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 3 chopped scallions
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped roasted peanuts
- Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Cook onions and bell peppers until lightly browned and tender, stirring in garlic when almost done to prevent burning.
- Stir in tomatoes, stock, chicken and crushed red and black peppers. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Stir in peanut butter and salt until well blended. Remove from heat. (Do not return to a boil)
- Ladle soup into flat bowls. Add garnish mix and serve.