Last week, on a particularly freezing evening, I came home from working in the city to find that my mother-in-law had brought us dinner from one of our favorite local restaurants. Yay! She totally saved us, as I had literally nothing in the fridge except a carton of eggs and a head of broccoli. We wouldn’t have starved, but it wasn’t going to be a meal to write home about.
One of the things she brought over was crab bisque. It was incredibly delicious, but I could only manage a small cup. The bisque was so thick and rich that I felt like I was drinking heavy cream (which, let’s face it, I probably was). Still, it got me thinking about ways to make a thick, velvety, almost sinfully rich soup without any cream at all.
A good trick, I discovered, is to use a little bit of peanut butter. This soup is loosely based on a recipe from The New Book of Soups. I saw it in a local magazine at my hair salon, and it sounded so good that I actually took a picture of the page with my iPhone.
I planned to replace the heavy cream called for with full-fat coconut milk, but in the end I didn’t think it needed it. This soup tastes incredibly luscious–it’s hard to believe there are only four tablespoons of peanut butter in the whole pot. A big pinch of cinnamon stirred in at the end and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts are the perfect finishing touch.
I think this sweet potato soup with peanut butter would be equally good with almond butter instead of peanut butter. For a little kick, add a pinch of red pepper flakes with the onion and leek. This recipe yields two quarts of soup, so you can enjoy one now and freeze one for later.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Chopped roasted salted peanuts, for serving
- Heat the olive oil over in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and leeks and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the sweet potatoes and season liberally with salt and pepper. Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the peanut butter and cinnamon. Puree the soup with an immersion blender. (Alternatively, puree the soup in batches in a regular blender.) Serve garnished with the chopped peanuts.