Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spicy Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup with Black Beans

My husband loves peanuts, in all forms, and everyone knows it. My Mom has forever endeared herself to him by, from the first she knew of this particular craving of his, having something containing peanuts to offer to Jack whenever we visit. She would bring out a large can of Planter’s peanuts, remove the vacuum seal, and his eyes would mist over as he smelled those “freshly roasted” nuts. Or she would make peanut butter cookies, or chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter chips, or rice krispie treats with peanut butter frosting, or, as she did when we visited last weekend, brownies with a peanut butter swirl. Mom is a true “spoiler”.

That being said, peanuts are not my favorite. To eat out of hand, I’ll choose almonds, hazelnuts, or even walnuts first. When I do buy peanuts, I choose an inexpensive brand (no fresh-roasted aroma there!) because I will probably be using them to garnish a stir-fry, or as an ingredient in some other recipe, rather than as a snack.

When I was looking through my favorite blogs a couple of weeks ago, I found a very interesting recipe at Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen, Spicy Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup with Black Beans. I have made sweet potato soup containing peanuts before, but this recipe included peanut butter in its ingredients and my favorite black beans, so I thought I would give it a go. Certainly Jack would love it!

Did I mention that, of the two or three sweet potato-and-peanut soups I have made previously, none of them thrilled me. No wow factor at all. Not that I need to be thrilled by soup, you understand, but it’s nice to be. Adds a little “extra something” to the day. :)

First, it wasn’t a thin soup. There was a definite substance to it even though the vegetables were not pureed. Second, the addition of the black beans added a much-deserved texture and appearance to the soup. Third, it was quite easy to make. And, most importantly, it tasted terrific. Yes, it thrilled me!

I used black beans that I had previously cooked and frozen, so the step of soaking and cooking the black beans was eliminated. For this 6 serving recipe, you could use 2 14-ounce cans of beans (drained). Rule of thumb is that a cup of dried beans equals 2-1/2 cups of cooked beans, which would require about 2 cans for the recipe (there are about 9 ounces of beans in a 14 ounce can once the liquid is drained off). I used less because I had less beans, but I think that I will increase the amount of black beans the next time I make it. I will also add a dollop of plain lowfat yogurt on top of each serving as well.

This is a very unusual soup, but the flavors are all complimentary and quite enjoyable, so I will place it in my short-rotation notebook. And (close your eyes, Lisa) it would also be quite good with some diced chicken breast added.

Quite pretty, isn't it?
You can't easily see the tomatoes in the photo, but the oranges and
yellows and reds, accented by black and green--
Art in a Bowl!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Spicy Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup with Black Beans

Recipe By: Lisa at Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen

Servings: 6

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 cup dried black beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large carrot -- sliced
1 large onion -- chopped
2 cloves garlic -- minced or crushed
1 pound sweet potato -- peeled and cubed (about 1 large)
1 teaspoon dried hot red chili flakes -- or to taste
2 medium tomatoes -- chopped
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
2 cups water
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon sea salt -- or to taste
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley -- finely chopped

Rinse the beans and soak overnight covered in several inches of cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain, place in a medium saucepan, and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a few moments, then swirl around to coat the pan. Add the carrot, onion and garlic and sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn up the heat slightly and toss in the sweet potato and chili flakes. Stir for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato and cook until the tomato has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock and water and bring to a slow boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the peanut butter and beans and let simmer for another 5 minutes to let the peanut butter melt into the soup and to warm the beans. Remove from heat, and season with salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.

Serve hot with a sprinkling of parsley for garnish. Serves 6.

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Per serving: 282 Calories (kcal); 9g Total Fat (2g Saturated); (27% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 41g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 403mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates


Laura said...

This sounds awesome--I am trying as soon as my sore throat goes away!

Vicci said...

Laura if you leave out the hot pepper flakes, I'm sure that this would be a very soothing soup for your throat (with lots of vitamins C & A to help the healing process along!).

jenni said...

did jack like it? :-)

Vicci said...

Oh yes, yes, yes. :D I wonder if he would like something really odd in a flavor that he doesn't particularly like, like Cilantro Soup, if it were made with peanut butter and garnished with chopped peanuts...

Laura said...

I am thinking of making this tomorrow--do you know why whey or lemon juice is added to the beans?

Lisa said...

Vicci, I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe. The addition of peanut butter with dinner has always been a favored twist. No fowl needed :)

Laura, the whey or lemon juice helps break down the phytates and enzyme inhibitors that block absorption of nutrients. Essentially, you end up with better digestion and more nutrition.

Vicci said...

Lisa, I've always soaked my beans with lemon or lime juice, but never knew exactly why, it was just how I learned to do it-- thanks for the clarification!