Some people at work have taken to calling me Fido; not in a derogatory way (I think), but because I’m known on my floor as the guy who sniffs everyone’s food. People were disgusted at first, when in the lunch room I would hover my nose over their leftover curry dish or lasagna and inhale. They would push their plates away and say “I can’t eat this now!” But it’s not as invasive as sticking my finger in the dish at least. Most people, I’ve learned, don’t often appreciate their food with all their senses – or at least the smell and look, unless they’re listening to a bowl of Rice Krispies snap-crackle-popping. Taste is important, sure, but so is taking the time to savour the aroma of a meal before placing it on the tongue and sending it down the gullet. We do it with wine, so why not food? Anyways, I shouldn’t be telling you this – If you’re reading this it means you’re already a food convert.
Where I’m going with this is that one lunch hour a colleague removed from the microwave the most incredible smelling soup. I sat staring at her, leaning in with my nose and waiting for her to offer me a bite. Normally I don’t do this to people – my mother raised me better than that. But I was curious and perplexed by what was undoubtedly peanut butter in her soup and needed to know what the outcome of it was. I have a thing with peanut butter – I eat it on everything, but never before in soup. Needless to say, she shared a bite of the soup and the recipe below.
8 cups veggie stock
2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
6 tbsp garlic, minced
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 chopped yams
1 can pineapple, with juice
3 tomatoes, chopped
6 tbsp peanut butter
1 bunch cilantro
Juice from 2 limes
Hot sauce, as desired
1. Heat the stock in a saucepan
2. In another large saucepan, saute the onion with some salt, until translucent – about 3 minutes
3. Add garlic, ginger, and spices, and sautee until soft
4. Add red pepper and yams and stir for 3 minutes
5. Add enough stock to cover the mixture, heat until liquid boils and then simmer until the yams are soft.
6. Add the pineapple with its juice, the tomatoes, peanut butter and the rest of the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree until smooth. I’ve learned from experience that when pureeing hot liquid in a blender or food processor, do so in small batches at the risk of having the mixture overflow when blending.
8. Simmer for another 10 minutes
9. Add cilantro, lime juice and hot sauce to taste.