Recipe for chupe de maní (Ecuadorean peanut soup)
Popular in Ecuador and Bolivia, this soup features peanuts and potatoes, two ingredients indigenous to South America. Foods that grow together make natural partners in soup, too. Make this spicy or less so, with your choice of chile peppers or red pepper flakes. I like Aleppo pepper, which has a bit of a kick but also hints of smoke, like the aroma of peanuts roasting on a New York City street cart.
Chupe de maní
Adapted from a recipe in Latin American Kitchen, by the wonderful Elisabeth Luard. Serves 4.
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 baking potato, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
4 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium store-bought
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Chopped cilantro and coarsely-chopped peanuts, for garnish
Heat the oil in a small Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, potato and bell pepper, and cook, stirring ocasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not starting to brown. Stir in the Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes, and the stock. Increase the heat to high, and bring the soup to a boil. Then, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup is fragrant and the potatoes are tender. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. Return the pot to the heat, and whisk in the peanut butter until the soup is smooth and the peanut butter is incorporated. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve hot, topped with cilantro and chopped peanuts.