Sausage and Root Vegetable Soup with Peanut Butter

Monday, February 19, 2007

Moving to China has led to discovering lots of new foods, and recently I was given some local charcuterie including the cured sausage that many people have hanging in their windows this time of year. It was coarse textured and seasoned with the distinctive 麻辣 (ma2la4, hot and numbing) quality of Sichuan pepper. Cured meats are more often a luxury than frugal, but I like using them in small amounts as flavouring. For this soup you can use any strongly flavoured cured sausage, like a cured Italian sausage or Spanish style choriz0 (not the raw kind), preferably with a lot of fat in it. Or that leftover chunk of salami.

Sweet potatoes are a great foil for the heat and richness of the meat. I added taro, but only because the last regular potatoes I cooked here turned to mush and I wanted something that would hold texture. Carrots, turnips, parsnips, or other similar vegetables would also work well.

Finely mince a six inch piece of dry sausage (about one inch in diameter) and four cloves of garlic. Chop half a large onion and three leafy stalks of celery and fry together in a large wide bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven. (In a chili-head mood, I would have add a minced hot pepper to the vegetables.) When these are tender add four cups of water and three cups sweet potato and taro or other root vegetables peeled and chopped into half inch dice, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so until root vegetables are tender. Stir in two tablespoons of peanut butter til smooth and taste for seasoning – this will really depend on how much salt and seasoning were in the meat. Serves four, best next day.

For the picture I borrowed a friend's camera - thanks, E! With the sausage I also received a smoked pig’s tail, and am figuring out what to do with it. Please leave suggestions in comments…a cross section reveals that there is not a lot of meat on the sucker.

4 comments:

davesgonechina said...

Hey, you moved to China? Great! Always looking for more recipes.

Where are you in the Big Middle?

Pepper said...

In Sichuan at the moment....feeling like I have to learn to cook all over again.

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a really interesting soup. As for the the smoked pork tail sounds like it would be excellent for stock.

Mimi said...

Itsounds wonderful! I used to make peanut butter soup from the old Diet for a Small Planet cookbook...