Peanut soup is a very special dish for Bolivians. Very easy to vary with different ingredients and full of flavor.
It is said that Che Guevara's last meal was a bowl of peanut soup made by a teacher named Ninfa Arteaga when he was a prisoner in La Higuera. Shortly after she brought him the soup, the shots were heard. A story that Bolivians like to tell an associate with Che.
Peanut soup is a very popular soup in Bolivia. With few ingredients but full of flavor. It is served for special occasions, birthdays, parties, or a Sunday meal.
In most Bolivian houses the main meal is served at noon. It starts with a soup or broth full of veggies, some meat or grains. Then comes the "segundo" (second, referring to the second plate) The segundo has to have rice. Bolivians love their rice. Rice with milanesas, rice with chicken, rice with stew, rice with spaghetti!
Now let's talk about the ingredients. As you can imagine, peanuts are the main ingredient for this soup. Raw peanuts are used, not toasted. In Bolivia, you get raw peanuts already peeled. If your only option is peanuts with skin, you can use that. You'll get a pinkish peanut soup, but the same flavor.
If you have more time, you can soak the peanuts in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze them between two towels. Rinse the peanuts in a big bowl, the skin should rise to the top.
The peanut mixture should be creamy. Blend for 2 to 3 minutes. Stick 2 (clean) fingers in there and rub them. If it's grainy, blend a few more minutes. Grainy peanut soup is not very safe. The little pieces scrape your throat, making you cough and kind of choke. We do not want a bad experience associated with this soup 😉.
Almost every Bolivian recipe starts with an ahogau, which is simply sauteed onions, garlic, and green peppers in a little bit of oil. To that base, I like to add some celery and parsley.
What other vegetables can you add to this peanut soup? chopped carrot, peas, a some chopped potatoes.
As I mentioned before, Bolivians love carbohydrates. Many times peanut soup has potatoes, noodles/rice, and is served with French fries and a piece of French baguette or boiled cassava.
For this recipe, I'm using chicken legs. Other options are whole chicken, cut into smaller pieces, chicken breast, or beef.
Whichever way you choose to make this Bolivian peanut soup, make sure to serve it with some llajua (spicy Bolivian sauce, recipe here), French fries, slices of French baguette or cassava. That first bite will take you right to Bolivia 🙂 .
Note: This recipe was published for the first time on August 6th, 2016 on my old blog. As we celebrate Bolivia’s independence in the month of August, I thought it was a good time to update my Bolivian recipes.
More Bolivian recipes:
- 2 cups raw peanuts (313g)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 10 chicken legs
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 4 tablespoons parsley, minced
- 12 cups of water or chicken broth (3 liters)
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
Soak peanuts for 5 minutes in a bowl with hot water. Drain.
- Blend half of the peanuts with 2 cups of water for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth. Repeat the same step with the other half.
- In a large pot, heat the oil and seal chicken over high heat. Remove from the pot and keep aside while preparing the rest of the food.
- Using the same pot, saute the onion, garlic, green peppers, and parsley for 3 minutes.
- Add the peanut mixture, the rest of the water or chicken broth and the carrots. Once it boils, cook for 20 minutes on low heat; stir every 5 minutes (the broth usually rises, as when heating milk, and overflows the pan ... keep an eye on it!)
- Add salt, pepper, and oregano.
- After 20 minutes add chicken legs and cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
Serve with french fries and llajua (hot sauce).
If you add peas and potatoes, add them together with the peanut mixture and carrots.
If you add pasta, add it 10 minutes before turning off the heat.
If you add rice, add it 15 minutes before turning off the heat.
If you want a lighter, no so thick soup, add more water or chicken broth.