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State Plate Recipe: Virginia’s Peanut Soup

The Legume that Thinks It’s a Nut: The Peanut

When you go to a ballgame and buy a bag of roasted peanuts, or stop at a roadside stand for a bag of boiled peanuts, you can silently thank George Washington Carver, the former slave who went on to become an educator and renowned biologist, among other accomplishments.

Once a crop used only to make oil and feed for livestock, Carver discovered about 300 varied uses for the lowly legume, elevating the peanut’s status from a poor man’s food to what many consider today a superfood. Carver’s creative approach to using peanuts in the early 1900s helped boost Virginia’s economy, and over 100 years later, allows us to enjoy everything from soaps and oils, to soups and snacks.

A Smooth, Savory Soup

Easy Peanut Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 C onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C celery, chopped
  • 2 T All-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 C Chicken broth or chicken stock (Regular or low-salt. See vegetarian options at the end.)
  • 1 C creamy peanut butter
  • 3 C milk, (For a richer texture, use 1 ¾ cups light or heavy cream, or half-and-half. See vegan options at the end)
  • Peanuts, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat butter; cook onion and celery until tender in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add flour, and stir until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Gradually, stir in broth, and cook to boiling, stirring constantly.
  4. In a blender container (Don’t forget to put on the top!), blend 1/2 broth mixture at a time until smooth.
  5. Pour back into the saucepan.
  6. With your whisk blend in the peanut butter.
  7. Stir in milk; heat just to boiling, but do not boil. Continue to whisk often until heated through.
  8. Serve with whipped peanuts as garnish.

Spice it up

Stir in hot sauce and lime juice into the soup.

Options

Depending on your taste, you can add to the soup:

  • Carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Toppings:

  • Chopped toasted peanuts
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Cayenne

For a vegetarian/vegan version

Use in place of milk/cream, and chicken broth/stock:

  • Low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Unsweetened rice milk or almond milk