Friday night I felt that familiar tickle in the back of my throat. “Oh no…I’m getting sick!” Sure enough, I woke up Saturday morning with a stuffy nose and cough. Cough syrup can only do so much as far as healing goes. By Monday night, I was fed up with not being able to breathe.
I knew I needed to make some pepper soup to clear me up. I was introduced to pepper soup by my dear friend Karen; I met Karen while we were both studying at WVU. She and her family came to America from Liberia in the early 2000s and brought many of their recipes with them. She makes pepper soup with bone in chicken, smoked turkey breast and fish, and chicken feet…and it is delicious. You have to drink milk while you eat it, but it burns so good.
When I went online to find a pepper soup recipe similar to Karen’s but without the meat I wouldn’t be able to find here in the Ohio Valley and without as much heat (I’m a wuss), I came across one for West African Peanut Soup (http://www.africanbites.com/maafe-west-african-peanut-soup/). I tweaked it a little. Here’s my take on this delicious soup. I think Karen will approve 🙂 (except she will definitely make fun of me for not being able to handle the heat)
Before I go on, I would like to say that I’m blessed to know many people who have come to America from other countries (Karen, Randell, Anu, and Angela especially). You’ve brought your food, your traditions, your families, your culture, and your love. Thank you for letting me take part in celebrations both big and small.
West African Pepper Soup
- 3-4 tomatoes
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup of peanut butter
- 4-5 cups of chicken stock
- 1 maggi cube (you can use regular bouillon cubes if you can’t find this ingredient)
- 2 large boneless chicken breast
- carrots (I chopped up about 15 baby carrots)
- 2 large potatoes (chopped)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon of hot paprika (or just use regular paprika and cayenne pepper)
- 1 tablespoon of adobo seasoning
- 2 habanero peppers
Boil the chicken breast, the onion, and the maggi cube for 30 minutes (or until chicken is fully cooked and reaches 165 degrees). Set aside.
Blend the tomatoes, garlic, and parsley in a food processor or blender. Heat oil in a large pan. Add mixture and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
Add vegetables, paprika, adobo, peanut butter, habanero peppers, and stock. I usually add the peanut butter first, let it melt into the mixture, and then add my other ingredients. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add in the chicken (cut into cubes). Cook for 5 minutes or until soup reaches desired thickness. If you want the soup to be more mild, remove the peppers. If you want the soup to be hot, break the peppers when you add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with rice…and toasted Yorkville Bakery bread!
*Next time I make this, I think I’ll add more root vegetables (sweet potatoes, turnips). Maybe some kohlrabi.
*This would probably taste even better with bone-in chicken.