Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Soups: West African Peanut Soup

While looking for a new recipe to make for company, I came across one I'd cut out of a newspaper years ago.  I compared it to a few recipes I found online, and picked out my favorite ingredients in each one.  The resulting soup was a hit.

Serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 large red bell pepper, diced

1 large green bell pepper, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained

5 to 6 cups chicken broth

1 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter

2 cups baby spinach

1 pound raw shrimp, shells and tails removed

2 cups cooked rice (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped and divided

1/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, red pepper and ginger.  Saute until the onions are slightly browned on the edges.  Stir in the tomatoes and chicken broth.  Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. 

Add the peanut butter, stirring until it is well blended.  Just before serving, add the spinach and shrimp.  Simmer until the shrimp is pink and thoroughly cooked, about 5 minutes. 

If you want a heartier soup, you can add rice.  If so, you may want to add another cup of chicken broth. 

Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in half of the cilantro.  Ladle into serving bowls.  Garnish with remaining cilantro and peanuts.