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!
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
- 1 Tbs minced garlic
- 2 cups of diced or shredded cooked chicken
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup of peanuts (or cashews, if preferred), roughly chopped
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
- 15-oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of peanut butter (chunky or smooth is fine)
- 2 cups of kale, chiffonade (sliced into thin ribbons)
- Add oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to become translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Add chicken and peanuts and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the chicken broth and peanuts (or cashews), as well as the sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Simmer covered until sweet potatoes are tender, about ten minutes.
- Add peanut butter, stirring until melted and combined.
- Stir in kale and allow a few minutes for the greens to wilt.
- If needed, add more salt to taste.
Adapted from The New York Times Cooking
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 420 Total Fat: 28g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 19g Cholesterol: 47mg Sodium: 1311mg Carbohydrates: 24g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 9g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 23g