I couldn’t imagine peanut soup being something I’d enjoy, but I was pleasantly surprised when its flavor met my taste buds. This was some years ago when we visited George and Martha Washington’s Mount Vernon estate with my sister and brother-in-law who treated us to dinner at Mount Vernon Inn.
Lori and Bob love peanut soup and wanted us to try the traditional Virginia fare. Jim and I are pretty open to new things and we enjoyed it so much we brought the recipe home.
Being the food adventurer that I am, I promptly prepared it for a Lenten Soup Supper at church. I’m not sure my fellow Lutherans ranked it up there with lefse, but there were several favorable comments and NO leftovers.
Since February is the birthday month of two of our greatest presidents, my “In the Spirit” column in today’s Grand Forks Herald (Feb. 11, 2012), touches on patriotism which was instilled in me as a child.
I also mention two books I’ve recently read: “Killing Lincoln,” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, and “Being George Washington,” by Glenn Beck. I never considered myself a history buff but by golly I may be turning into one.
Check out my column on the Herald’s website where I invite readers to visit this blog for two recipes for peanut soup. I told them they would also see a picture of my old school in Russell, N.D., the one I speak of in the column where pictures of Washington and Lincoln hung on each side of the clock above the blackboard.
These are the exact images of Washington and Lincoln that hung in my first classroom. In my mind’s eye I still see the room and where they were placed.
Happy Birthday George and Abe!
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 22) and many churches have soup suppers. If you are a soup contributor at your church may I suggest “Peanut Soup?”
This first recipe is Mount Vernon Colonial Peanut and Chestnut Soup:
- ¼ cup margarine
- 1 ½ tbsp flour
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 quart water
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- ½ cup unsalted peanuts chopped
- ½ cup water chestnuts, chopped
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
Melt margarine in a large saucepan. Stir in flour to make a roux. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently until the roux is light tan in color. Once the roux is ready, add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Add peanut butter and Worcestershire sauce and stir. Hold on stove at a low heat until ready to serve. The longer it heats, the thicker it gets. Garnish with chopped peanuts and water chestnuts.
And here’s one from King’s Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg, Va., another place Lori and Bob have taken us:
Cream of Peanut Soup (Serves 10-12)
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 8 cups chicken stock (or low-salt canned chicken stock)
- 2 cups smooth peanut butter
- 1 ¾ cups light cream or half-and-half
- Finely chopped salted peanuts, for garnish
In a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, three-five minutes. Stir in flour and cook two minutes longer. Pour in the chicken stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until slightly reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Pour into a sieve set over a large bowl and strain, pushing hard on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Return the liquid to the sauce pan or pot.
Whisk the peanut butter and the cream into the liquid. Warm over low heat, whisking often, for about five minutes. Do not boil. Serve warm, garnished with the chopped peanuts.
Let me know what you think of peanut soup. I bet George loved it and look how he turned out!