The other night, I decided to do some innovative southern cooking. I made deviled eggs with sliced pimento peppers which were delicious as an appetizer. I had heard about peanut soup being served as a delicious appetizer at Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster in Harlem, which I would love to try one of these days. Then, Bon Appetit, my favorite cooking magazine, was doing a special on Southern cooking and had a delicious sounding recipe for roasted peanut soup with honey whipped cream that I just had to try. It's a little involved, so I made it on a Friday night when I had some extra time. The end result was an amazing main course that followed those southern style deviled eggs quite nicely. The soup had just the right consistency and a smooth flavor with just enough of a peanut touch. The honey whipped cream was absolutely lovely. I made only one change, I used pistachio oil instead of peanut oil and the result was a fabulous whipped cream that tasted amazing with the peanut soup.
2 heads of garlic
4 T of olive oil
1 1/2 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
3 cups chopped onions (about two onions)
3 cups chopped celery
2 T butter
2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 8 oz yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped into quarter inch cubes
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
1 T honey
1 T roasted peanut oil or pistachio oil
Preheat the oven to 450. Slice off the top third of each head of garlic. Place the garlic on a sheet of foil and drizzle with two tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast on a baking sheet until soft and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and squeeze garlic into a small bowl, pouring in any remaining oil.
Pulse the peanuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. At this point, reserve a quarter of a cup for the garnish. Continue pulsing the rest until a smooth peanut butter forms, about two minutes. Set aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pot over low heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the butter and the celery and cook until the celery is softened, about another 15 minutes. Add the bay leaf and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the potato and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the potato is tender, about twenty minutes. Remove from heat and discard the bay leaf.
Puree the soup in a blender until smooth, adding in the peanut butter to the last batch. Strain using a strainer if needed. Whisk in a quarter cup of the cream and season with salt and pepper.
Using the remaining cream, whisk in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form and whisk in the honey and pistachio or peanut oil. Serve the soup with a dollop of the honey whipped cream, a celery leaf and the chopped peanuts. I added a bit of paprika as well.