I picked up a copy of the Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking a few weekends ago for nostalgic purposes. I came across this gem at a thrift shop near my apartment when they were having a 50% off books sale. The cover looked so oddly familiar to me. The font style and the photos on the front, in particular. It took a moment to realize that my mother had owned a copy of this massive book and I had even used it as a hard surface to write or draw on when I was a kid. I couldn’t resist making the purchase.
Inside features all sorts of recipes, some completely bizarre. From jellied gazpacho to recipes for cream soups that list “one canned cream of” soup as one of the ingredients. Sure, it was published in a different time when use of canned goods was rampant. Gelatin was relatively new to the world of cooking and people went batshit crazy for it, jellying all sorts of meals. I’m all for an adventure in cooking, but maybe jellying is a little bit TOO adventurous for me.
I brought the book home, opened it up and immediately leafed my way through to the soups. It was in this recipe that I found inspiration to create an original Soupy Stovetop soup.
Cream of Peanut Butter Soup.
I was intrigued. The idea was just too wacky to pass up.
I’ve heavily modified the original cookbook recipe; substituting an ingredient here, adding an ingredient there. This peanut butter soup was a great foundation recipe and inspired me to create something that was completely experimental and bizarre.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the outcome pleasantly surprised me. I dare you to try it.
For a vegetarian version, I would probably fry up some tofu, pour a whisked egg into the broth, and swap the fish sauce with soy sauce.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium sized carrot, diced
- 1 white onion, diced
- 4 red Thai chili peppers, minced
- 1 handful Thai basil, chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
- 1 lime for juice
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp flour
- Salt and pepper
- Bean sprouts
Salt and pepper the chicken and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken, cook for 10 more minutes. Chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili peppers and stir until fragrant.
Sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir in the peanut butter. Add the stock, chicken, lime juice, rice vinegar, fish sauce, and basil and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
Add and handful of bean sprouts to the individual bowls and garnish with basil leaves, toasted crushed peanuts, and a wedge of lime.