National Soup Swap!

23 Jan
Peanut & Tomato soup

Yay, soup! 6 quarts, ready to swap.

Soup soup soup soup soup soup! Once the thermometer dips I pretty much live on soup and hot toddies. So, an event like the fifth annual National Soup Swap is right up my alley! The lovely lady behind almost foodies hosts a swap here in the 518. This was my first year joining in the fun, and I was really excited to participate.

I immediately knew I wanted to make a peanut soup. In December a group of friends and I were leaving our rented cabin in Merck Forest–a great winter adventure, by the way–and hiked 2.5 miles out on a rather exposed ridge, in bracing wind and a combination of hail and sleet. Once we got back to our cars we drove immediately to the Blue Benn diner to unthaw and fill our empty bellies. I got the soup of the day, African Peanut, and it was exactly what I wanted: savory, spicy, hearty. It was the first time I’d had a peanut soup, and I was hooked.

Google provided many many interpretations of peanut soups, but in the end I went with a variation of this Curried Peanut and Tomato recipe from the February 2006 issue of Gourmet. I liked its simplicity, low number of ingredients and the oddly tasty combo of peanuts and tomatoes. My tweaks:

  • Olive oil instead of vegetable oil.
  • Madras curry paste instead of curry powder.
  • Fire-roasted whole tomatoes–I prefer the sweeter flavor of roasted tomatoes–and if this were summer I’d suggest roasting fresh tomatoes and skipping the can.
  • Unsalted peanut butter from the Albany Co-op (sole ingredient: roasted peanuts).
  • Vegetable stock instead of chicken broth.
  • A last-minute light sprinkle of brown sugar (note: this is the only ingredient potentially keeping this soup from being vegan, another sweetener could be used for those avoiding refined sugars).
  • Immersion blender at the end to smooth things out.

A splash of coconut milk would be another nice tweak if you wanted to tone down the curry spices. Gourmet suggests topping this soup with fresh cilantro. I like it served with a dollop of plain yogurt.

souper delicious

So fragrant, I wish you could smell this!

I can’t wait to try all of the delicious-sounding soups I walked away with: Albany Jane’s Black Bean-Tomatillo, Spicy Curried Lentil with Roasted Eggplant (with a Parivar Spices business card attached), Black-Eyed Peas & Collard Greens (love love love collard greens), Tomato, Fig & Beefalo with Fig & Goat Milk Yogurt Quenelle, Silvia’s Sea Shanty Spicy Clam Chowder and Renée’s Cream of Tomato, which I’m breaking into today with some grilled cheese!

I’d recommend Soup Swap to everyone. And if you missed it this year, don’t wait until 2012; why not host your own swap sometime soon?

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8 Responses to “National Soup Swap!”

  1. renée January 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    so nice to meet you in person! i hope you enjoyed my soup. i’m going to whip up a batch for the house soon. we are looking forward to enjoying your soup after the baby arrives. if we were doing prizes, you would have won best label! so cute!!!

    • Elizabeth January 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

      Thanks again for letting me participate, and thanks also to Jason (I forgot to mention him! Sorry!) It was a great time 🙂

  2. Daniel B. January 24, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Waaah! Your soup is too cute. And I missed the whole thing. All these posts on Renée’s party are killing me. It looks like a great time.

    Hopefully I can make it again next year.

    • Elizabeth January 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      Yeah, I veer towards the twee 🙂 FYI, there was no split pea this year. Tragic!

  3. royah January 24, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Your soup was amazing! It was so good I had to track you down through Renée for the recipe. Delish 🙂

    • Elizabeth January 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

      Royah, thank you! I’m so happy you liked it! Have fun with this one, lots of room for tweaking and experimentation.

      • -S January 29, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

        It was so amazing Royah told me about it again last night. One day, Western Europe will appreciate peanuts too.

      • -S February 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

        Turns out Kara shared hers with me for dinner last night, and that was really good, I could definitely handle the peanut. Good call on the Madras curry paste too. So far, the tomato basil soup, AJ’s tomatillo soup and Jen’s onion soup have been great too. Chicken florentine and potato rosemary soups… not so much.

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