Virginia Peanut Soup 6.000

Renee Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick

Plate Lab Jan 11, 2015

This pure, simple soup is a flavorful way to celebrate Virginia's culinary heritage. The key is starting with peanuts rather than peanut butter, and soaking them to make the soup creamy without adding dairy.

Make Ahead: The peanuts need to soak for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months; taste after reheating, and add a little lemon juice to freshen.

Where to Buy: Look for roasted peanut oil, such as La Tourangelle brand, at Whole Foods Market and other upscale markets, such as Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma.


Servings:
6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings; makes about 6 cups

Ingredients
  • 2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped, plus 1/4 cup celery leaves, for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth (store-bought or homemade; see related recipe), plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • 1/4 cup diced, unpeeled apple, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil, for garnish (may substitute toasted sesame oil; see headnote)

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Directions

To make the soup, place the peanuts in a bowl with enough water to cover by 2 inches, and soak at room temperature for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. Drain.

Pour the oil into a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the drained peanuts, celery seed and bay leaf; cook, stirring, until the peanuts are heated through and coated in oil, 2 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat until it is barely bubbling around the edges. Cook uncovered until the peanuts are very soft, about 20 minutes. Fish out and discard the bay leaf.

Working in small batches, transfer the soup to a blender, remove the center knob from the lid, cover with a dish towel to contain splatters, and blend until smooth. Add a little more broth if you'd like the soup to be thinner. Pour back into the pot and reheat over medium heat. (For a particularly smooth texture, rinse out the pot and push the soup back into the pot through a fine-mesh strainer.) Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper; taste, and add more of any or all of them as needed.

Ladle the soup into bowls, and divide the garnish among them: peanuts, apple, celery leaves and a drizzle of peanut oil. Serve hot.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from chef Drew Trautmann of Southern Efficiency in the District's Shaw neighborhood.

Tested by Joe Yonan.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.