Reading through the blogs I follow, I realize how so much of North America is suffering through a bone chilling winter. At times like this we need food that is nurturing as well as nourishing. After a bitterly cold day there is nothing more satisfying than coming home to a steaming hot bowl of soup to thaw out your frost-bitten fingers! So this week I offer you a lovely, complex concoction that originates in Africa. If you have not yet tried a yam and peanut soup, you are in for a treat. For those of you familiar with this combination, this recipe has the added twist of pineapple and it includes a generous amount of fresh ginger to stoke up the heat. A bowl of this soup, served with a thick slab of sourdough or a dense rye makes a substantial meal. This soup can tolerate a good quantity of hot sauce, so go for it – this is the soup for a good splash of your favourite sriracha or habañero. I found the recipe in the must-have Canadian cookbook I have mentioned before: Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz. I hope you enjoy it, and please keep warm!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
4 large cloves garlic, minced or 2 bulbs roasted garlic
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 medium yams, peeled and roughly chopped
1 – 14 ounce can water packed pineapple chunks
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
5 tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
juice of 2 limes
Place the olive oil in a large soup pot.
Add onion and salt and sauté over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
Add ginger, garlic and spices and sauté until fragrant.
Add stock, bell pepper and yams and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and cover. Simmer over low until the yams are cooked.
Add pineapple with its juice, tomatoes, peanut butter and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and purée with a hand-held blender until the soup is mostly smooth, leaving a few chunks for a bit of texture.
Season to taste with more salt.
To serve, pour into bowls and top with chopped cilantro and lime juice.
You can garnish with a bit of extra chopped peanuts, some extra pineapple and your favourite hot sauce. Smile and enjoy this sublime soup!