Peanuts are the basis for this velvety soup that graced Colonial tables from Georgia to Virginia. Versions of this spicy peanut soup can also be found throughout West Africa. For a tasty twist, use canned, unsweetened coconut milk instead of the half-and-half.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

6 scallions

1 medium celery stalk

1/2-inch piece fresh ginger

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup smooth, natural peanut butter

1/2 cup half-and-half or unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon

Chopped dry roasted peanuts for garnish

  1. Chop the white parts of the scallions only.

  2. Chop and set aside the green parts of 3 scallions (for garnish).

  3. Chop the celery.

  4. Mince the ginger.

  5. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil.

  6. Add the chopped scallion white parts and celery to the pot.

  7. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

  8. Add 2 teaspoons ginger and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  9. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes.

  10. Add the chicken broth.

  11. Simmer until the broth is hot and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

  12. For a velvety texture, strain the solids and return the liquid to the pot.

  13. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

  14. Add the peanut butter, half-and-half, and cayenne pepper; stir to blend.

  15. Simmer until the soup is heated through, about 5 to 7 minutes.

    Don’t let the soup boil to prevent the half-and-half from curdling.

  16. Season with salt to taste.

  17. Serve, garnished with peanuts and the reserved scallion greens.