This creamy soup starts off life with the fragrant aroma of an Indian potato curry. With the help of a little extra stock and a generous helping of peanut butter, it’s transformed into a velvety potage that coats your tongue with a flood of umami.
For those of you looking at this skeptically, possibly even picturing a salty peanut butter sandwich, purge that image from your head. Like a cello in an orchestra, there’s enough peanut butter in here to add some wonderful body and richness complementing the smoky stock, but not enough to be called out as an individual component by all but the most refined palate.
I like a lot of heat in my food, so I added a jalapeno as well as the spicy The Heat is On peanut butter, but if you like things a little milder just omit the jalapeno and replace the spicy peanut butter with some Smooth Operator.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 6-8 servings
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons whole cumin seed
4 cloves of garlic, finely grated
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated
2 medium onions, minced
1 quart chicken stock
1.5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch dice
4 cilantro plants, leaves and stems separated
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
1 black cardamom pod
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup The Heat Is On peanut butter (if you want it spicy) or Smooth Operator peanut butter (if you want it mild)
1. Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium high heat until very hot. Add the cumin seeds and toast until they are fragrant and they start crackling. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry until very fragrant. Add the onions and turn down the heat to medium low. Continue frying the onions until they’re very soft and caramelized (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally to brown evenly.
2. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, cilantro stems (save the leaves for later), jalapeno, black cardamom, bay leaf, celery seeds and turmeric, then add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft.
3. Remove the black cardamom and the bay leaf, then add the lemon juice and The Heat is On (or Smooth Operator) peanut butter. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup (do not use a regular blender, as the steam escaping from the hot soup will blow the lid off). Be careful not to over-blend the soup, or it will get gummy. It’s okay if there are a few chunks of potatoes left.
4. Mince the cilantro leaves and sprinkle on top of each bowl of soup.