This quick and easy West African Peanut and Chicken Soup is a unique blend of flavors that creates the ultimate comfort food with little effort!
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Winter is in full swing and I am fully in the mood for warm, cozy meals. This is the time of year when I most relish casseroles, pastas, pot pies, chilis, and soups. I stumbled across this recipe for West African peanut and chicken soup a couple of weeks ago and was completely intrigued. I had never heard of peanut soup, but I was curious about the combination of flavors: cayenne pepper, ginger, and peanut.
When I realized this recipe was from the incomparable Mark Bittman, I immediately decided to try it. I own and love Mark’s cookbook “How to Cook Everything,” which is a comprehensive bible for the kitchen and one that should be in every cook’s library. Honestly, every recipe I have ever used from that book has been a winner. And I am happy to report that this West African peanut and chicken soup is a deliciously simple comfort food at its finest.
I made a few small tweaks based on what I had on hand, but I was pleasantly surprised by the pairings of flavors in this soup. The onions and garlic provide an aromatic base for the soup, then the addition of ginger and cayenne give a touch of warmth without making it spicy. The peanuts (or cashews, if you prefer) provide a bit of interesting texture and the peanut butter lends a bit of creaminess and depth of flavor to the soup. Add in some sweet potatoes, diced tomatoes, and kale for a nutrient-packed soup with tons of flavor. Chicken provides some protein, further bulking up the soup. When I first taste-tested it, I ended up eating two bowls full of soup. 🙂
Side note: Isn’t that China bowl pretty? I have a handful of these dishes from my grandma and I love them!
You can add salt to taste, and I even tried adding a couple of shakes of soy sauce to the soup, which complemented the ginger and peanut flavors well.
Because this recipe is so quick and easy, it would make a great weeknight meal to add to your weekly menu plan. The flavor combination may not be what you typically find in most soup recipes, but I can assure you the medley of ingredients create a delicious meal. Give it a try and serve it with some warm crusty bread!
What is one of your favorite soup recipes to make this time of year? Let me know in the comments below!