I love soups! They are comforting, filling, and so forgiving. If you think about it, soups and stews were what our ancestors lived on and as a results, there are so many wonderful variations around the world. Growing up in France, I rarely saw peanuts with the exception of salted peanuts my parents served as an appetizer with aperitifs to their guests before meals. If was only decades later that I would discover how much I loved peanuts in Thai and Vietnamese food. But the first time I tasted peanuts in soup was such a find! It was a kind of African peanut soup.
Fast forward years later, I had an inkling for a peanut stew and realized that I had never seen it on a restaurant’s menu. So I tried recreating it by making a stew combining Jamaican spices with peanuts. This soup is naturally on the sweet side because it has sweet potato, corn, and carrots. A little tomato paste adds color, and peanut butter creates the perfect thickener and good fat. You can add spinach or other leafy greens if you like.
Jamaican spice mix
This mix of spices has so many tones: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cayenne, garlic, black pepper, and bay leaves. You are free to add or omit some depending on what you have available.
Simple potato dumplings
Did you know that you can take peeled boiled potatoes and mash them using a mortar and pestle or a heavy bowl, with some salt and garlic powder until they turn into a cheesy elastic dough ? It turns out, you don’t need to add flour or eggs like the Italians do when they make gnocchi. You just have to pound or mash them long enough until the starch becomes stretchy (about 2-3 minutes). Don’t skip that step or risk turning your dumpling into mush as they get dipped in the soup! Once you get to that stringy texture, lightly wet your hands and make little balls and set aside. It is pretty cool.
Time to make this soup!
Jamaican Peanut Soup with potato dumplings
- Mortar and pestle
- 1 medium carrot peeled and diced
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled and diced
- 1-2 tbsp oil
- 1 yellow or onion peeled and diced
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 zucchini diced
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 cups broth
- 1-2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp clove powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup minced scallions and/or cilantro
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 4-5 medium potatoes peeled
Making the dumplings
- Boiled the peeled potatoes until tender.
- In a mortar or food processor, pound the potatoes for 2-3 minutes until the mixture starts to become stretchy.
- Wet your hands and make small balls. Set aside.
Make the soup
- Heat the onion and garlic in a little oil. Add the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce and stir. Cook for a minute or two.
- Combined the cinnamon, clove, cayenne and/or black pepper.
- Heat up the 4 cups of broth with the tomato paste, peanut butter, and spices.
- Pour the spiced broth over the onions, add the diced sweet potatoes, carrots, and corn. Cook over medium heat until the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Add the potato dumplings right before serving the soup. Top with chopped scallions or cilantro.