Peanut Soup

The modern peanut (Arachis hypogaea) originated in the region encompassing northwestern Argentina and southeastern Bolivia.  Peanuts are a sun-loving legume that thrives on the open grassy pampas and in fire adapted woodlands. Remains of peanuts were excavated from an archaeological site dated to 7600 years BP, and it seems likely humans were eating wild peanuts thousands of years earlier than this date.  The modern peanut is an hybrid species resulting from a cross between 2 species of peanut still found in the wild–A. duranensis and A. iapensis.  Cultivation of the peanut spread rapidly across South America, and during European colonization it was introduced to Africa where it mostly replaced the native goober nut (a distant relative) in popularity.   There are 5 groups of peanut cultivars including thousands of varieties.  Cultivars include Spanish, Virginia, runner, Valencia, and Tennessee red and white.  Oily Spanish peanuts are my favorite snack.  In addition to human consumption peanuts are used as animal feed and in hundreds of various industrial products.  Surprisingly, the U.S. ranks 4th in worldwide production behind China, India and Nigeria.  Sudan, a desert nation, almost grows as many peanuts as the U.S.

The peanut is not actually a nut, but instead is a legume related to beans and peas.  I grew peanuts in my garden 1 summer.  The plant flowers on a stem.  Following pollination, the stem grows into the ground, and the peanut shell forms at the end of the stem underground.  They are easy to grow in climates with long summers, and they don’t require much fertilization.

During Colonial times peanuts were mostly used as animal feed, but Inns did serve peanut soup.  I went through 3 pages of peanut soup recipes on a google search and discovered that none of them were the original peanut soup recipe served in Colonial era Inns.  The following is the correct recipe for peanut soup.  All other recipes on the internet are wrong, unless they follow this recipe.

Peanut soup made the way it is supposed to be made.

Fry 6 strips of bacon.  Cut up 4 stalks of celery and 1 onion.  Remove the bacon from the pan and add the celery and onion to the bacon grease.  (Celery really pairs well with peanut butter.  The crisp texture of the celery contrasts with the creamy fat of the peanut butter.)  Sautee the vegetables until just tender and add 1/3rd cup of flour.  Add the vegetables and flour to a quart of low sodium chicken broth along with a cup of peanut butter and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  Stir and heat until the peanut butter is mixed well with the chicken broth and there are no lumps.  Serve with crumbled bacon and/or chopped peanuts on top.

This recipe must include celery and bacon.

Jiff is by far the best brand of peanut butter on the market.

The original recipe includes 2 cups of milk with 3 cups of chicken broth instead of just a quart of chicken broth.  I never add milk to mine.

The original recipe also uses white pepper.  I prefer cayenne.  I never use white pepper because it literally smells like crap.

Reference:

Tullie’s Receipts

The Kitchen Guild of the Atlanta Historical Society

Atlanta Historical Society 1976

One Response to “Peanut Soup”

  1. ina puustinen-westerholm Says:

    In the dark reccess’s of my brain.. I actually had an African version of peanut soup/stew. It was..delicious. No idea..of what the contents were..but thinking a poss. ‘creole’..version..of which there must be endless versions. A foreign student offering..at a gathering on campus. Your recipe sounds great..and as I go shopping today..to supply the next several days of grocerys..I will buy bacon and celery. In our version of peanut..only the unadulterated Adams peanut butter counts. Nothing in it..BUT the dry, roasted peanuts. No sugars, no yeasts, no extenders. So thank you..for another home cooking treat idea! ina

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