Peanut Soup

Preparation info

  • Yields

    1½ quarts

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Bill Neal's Southern Cooking

Bill Neal's Southern Cooking

By Bill Neal

Published 1985

  • About

The cuisines of warm lands around the globe from Africa to Asia have incorporated the South American native, the peanut. The southeastern United States is no exception. Peanut soup is a hallmark of eastern Virginia cooking and part of the legacy of African cooks who introduced the legume (after receiving it from the Portuguese slave traders) to North America.


  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
  • 1 cup (235 ml) chopped onion
  • ½ cup (118 ml) chopped celery
  • 1 cup (235 ml) roasted, shelled, unsalted peanuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups (950 ml) chicken stock
  • ½ cup (118 ml) heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


    Melt the butter over medium high heat in the saucepan and sauté the onion and celery until soft. Add the peanuts and the minced garlic, stirring well. Add flour and cook until it browns lightly, stirring constantly. Season with red pepper flakes and thyme, slowly pour in the stock, stirring well, and simmer for 25 minutes until the peanuts are tender. Allow to cool and purée the soup using a food mill, blender, or attachment for an electric mixer. Pass the purée through a fine-mesh strainer. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reheat gently to serve.

    For the garnish, rinse the sliced okra under running cold water and drain. Combine the cornmeal, salt, and pepper, and toss with the okra to coat it lightly. Heat the oil in the skillet or sauté pan over high heat until almost smoking. Reduce heat slightly and add the okra, flash-frying and shaking the pan, until the okra browns lightly. Add the scallions all at once and cook until just wilted. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and top each bowl of soup with some of the vegetables.