I was intrigued when I first read of an African Sweet Potato Peanut Soup. Firstly, I know close to nothing of African cuisine, secondly, I love peanuts, and thirdly, I hardly ever use peanuts outside of breakfast/dessert applications (usually as peanut butter, yum!), so really, there was a lot to this that caught my eye. Of course, tinkering with the soup a bit here and there, I’m not sure if its quite the same African peanut soup any more, but its definitely a keeper.
Somewhat to my surprise, this soup reminded me of red Thai curries I’ve had before. The sweet potato base of the soup gave a great heartiness while the mix of ginger, peppers, peanut, and coconut added that creamy/tangy/spicy blend of flavors that so strongly evoked thoughts of Thai for me. Was it precisely what I intended? No. Was I disappointed? Definitely not. I would describe this as a sweet potato version of panang curry, but in soup form. Since I wanted more of a meal than soup, I cooked thin strips of beef and mixed it into the soup as well.
- 4 large sweet potatoes sliced in half lengthwise
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 leek
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 qt beef stock
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup creamy salted peanut butter
- 3 jalapeno
- 1 anaheim
- 1 red bell
- 2 habanero
- 1 (15 oz) can coconut milk
- 1-2 lb flank steak
Cut the sweet potatoes in half length-wise. Rub them with a bit of oil all over and put them in a roasting pan flesh-side down. Roast in a 400°F oven for about 40 minutes (or until fork tender). Once cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skins.
Meanwhile, begin by preparing the beef. Slice it thinly (smallish, bite-size strips) and brown it on both sides for roughly a minute or two in a large pan. Set this aside.
In the same pot, sauté the finely minced leek and peppers for roughly 8 minutes in a bit of olive oil. Add the finely minced garlic and ginger for a minute further. Finally, deglaze with the stock and add the roasted sweet potatoes. Raise this to a boil.
Once boiling, drop the heat to a bit below medium and add in the peanut butter and brown sugar. After about 10 minutes, puree this to your heart’s content depending on how smooth/textured you want the soup to be. Add in the coconut milk, season with salt and pepper to your liking, and finally, return the beef to the pot. Continue to simmer the soup for 20-30 minutes.
Finally, the soup is ready to serve. Pour yourself a bowl, garnish with cilantro and peanuts, and enjoy!