Spicy peanut and eggplant soup

Posted: September 16, 2011 in gluten-free recipes, vegan recipes
Tags: , ,

All this cooler weather is making me want to make soup.  It’s a perfect day on call…I get a workout in and think to myself, “Hey, if they call me back now, at least I got a workout in.”  An hour later, “Well, I got some laundry done, too.”  And then, “Wow, I got groceries bought and some thank you notes mailed.”

I feel like I’m cheating to get productive things in my house done.  I’m gonna eat brunch and make this soup, and decorate my house for fall.  I’m so ready for autumn.  (Hopefully, they don’t call me back mid-recipe.)

Bex had brought over some eggplant from her garden one day pre-wedding to help me do sunflower boxes (dangit, don’t know if I have photos of them), and with intent to cook.  We drank instead.  (What are friends for?)  I took her purple eggplants and fried em up with some egg and bread crumbs last week, but didn’t use the white ones yet.  I wanted soup, and I wanted to use the eggplant.  If I could use more from my garden, that’s a bonus.

I wonder if this is Ethiopian-inspired cuisine.  Isn’t there a lot of peanut in African cooking?  It’s embarrassing that I, vegetarian person, don’t know this.  I should explore this culinary train of thought.

source:  Moskowitz and Romero, Veganomicon

vegan, gluten –

  • 1 lb eggplant, peeled, chopped into 1/2 in cubes (Bex’s homegrown…aren’t they beautiful?)
  • 1 tsp salt, add’l to taste
  • 5 lg shallots, peeled and sliced very thingly
  • 1/4 c peanut oil
  • 1 med yellow onion, diced
  • 1 hot chile, seeded and minced (check out that GORGEOUS flame-colored pepper I grew!)
  • 1 in cube fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground cayenne (optional) (I’ll go lighter for Mark’s sake)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1/3 c tomato paste
  • 1 16oz can roasted diced tomatoes with juice
  • 5c water or veggie broth
  • 1/2 creamy or chunky natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 lb green beens, fresh or frozen, trimmed, cut into 2 in pcs (I got fresh)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • optional garnishes:  1/3 c chopped cilantro, whole cilantro leaves and chopped roasted peanuts (nice with dry roast peanuts…my cilantro plant died 2 months ago.)

Toss eggplant cubes with tsp salt in a large bowl or colander.  Allow to sit 30 mins to soften, then gently rinse with cold running water and drain.

While eggplant is being brined, prehead lg stockpot over med-high heat.  Saute the shallots in 2 tbsp of oil for about 20 minutes until very soft, browned and slightly carmelized.  Scoop the shallots out of the pot and set aside in med sized bowl.

Add 1 tbsp of the oil to the pot, add eggplant, stirring to coat with the oil.  Stir and cook eggplant for 12 to 15 mins, until slightly tender.  Transfer eggplant to same bowl as shallots.

Add remaining oil to pot and allow it to heat, add ginger and chile, fry for 30 secs.  Add gr cumin, corianter, tumeric, fry for another 30 secs, then add onion.  Stir and fry until the onion is just slightly soft and translucent, 5 to 6 mins.  Add tomato paste and stir-fry for another minute.

Add diced tomatoes, water/broth, eggplant, string beans, shallots to pot.  Stir well and raise the heat to med-high.  Bring to a boil and boil for 5 mins, then lower the heat and simmer.

In separate bowl, stir peanut butter to incorporate any separated oils.  Add a ladleful of hot soup.  Stir pb with the soup until creamy; the pb should be completely emulsified.  Scrape pb mixture into the rest of the simmering soup, stirring to mix.

Simmer soup over med-low heat, covered for 35 to 45 mins, or until eggplant is very tender.  Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lemon juice.  Salt to taste after soup has cooled for at least half hour.  Top with garnishes if desired.

 

This is delicious, filling comfort food and for me, flavors I haven’t tried together before.  The flavors blend well, though, smooth and aromatic.  The ‘spicy’ really lends flavor, not heat.  This is not a low-fat soup, so note the out of focus photograph has what I consider to be a portion size.  The recipe says this results in 6 to 8 servings.  When I tasted the soup, I decided a lunch-sized serving is a ramekin cup full (maybe 1/2 to 2/3 cup?)  I will probably get 12 servings out of it….so dinners and lunches for us, but I’m also sharing with Jane.  😀  …Which is nice, because the wedding took me away from cooking, and therefore, sharing the yummy stuff with my mother in law.  I liked doin that.
Also, the cookbook suggests that you can serve this soup over some rice.  I think that’ll be how I serve this for dinner.  By itself, the soup is really good and filling.  But I think having a grain with it will feel like a total meal.  You know how sometimes soup doesn’t seem quite like ‘dinner’ without at least bread and sometimes a salad?  I’m not missing the salad here, but I am kind of wanting a grain thing.  A flatbread would be fantastic with this, too.  (OOH!  Maybe I’ll make chapatis today!  I LOVE doing that!)  So yeah.  Make this.  And make a good basmati (use good stuff, this soup deserves it) or make flatbreads.

Mmmmmm.

 

Hey, they haven’t called me back yet, and I got soup made.  Yay, me.

 

 

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