Friday, January 20, 2012

Peanut Butter -Vegetable Chicken Soup

Years ago a friend gave me a wonderful cookbook, Jane Brody's Good Food Book. It is my go-to book for wonderful, healthy soups and breads. This is one of our favorite soups. Don't be put off by the peanut butter. It makes it creamy and with a wonderful peanutty taste. One of the best things is you can put in any variety of vegetables and it is still good. So it is a little bit different every time. And, with the peanut butter, it is a little bit the same. When our daughter Tara is here we make a vegetarian version and it is equally good. Just substitute Vegetable Broth for the Chicken Broth and leave out the chicken! Easy!

Peanut Butter-Vegetable Chicken Soup

8 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken
1 cup peeled and diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup broccoli or cauliflower flowerettes
1 cup tomatoes, fresh or canned, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup green pepper, if you insist, I don't like green pepper and leave them out!
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup peanut butter
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot combine the broth, chicken, if using, potatoes and carrots. I like the mini carrots, so be careful when chopping. I also use the precooked frozen chicken strips, or I get a large 1 - 2 inch slice from the deli. Bring the soup to a boil and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes

While this is cooking, chop the rest of the vegetables. This is where you can get creative. Sometimes I add BOTH broccoli and cauliflower. If the zucchini is big, I add all of it because I leave out the green pepper. I usually use fresh tomatoes, but if I used a can and it was more than 1 cup, I would use the whole thing. Have fun and use up what you have. Then simmer for 8 minutes

Add the peanut butter. It seems like a lot but it melts in the soup and isn't overwhelming. I like to use the chunky kind because I like to find the little bits every once in awhile. But smooth is good, too. Add the parsley and the salt and pepper and stir until you don't find any more lumps of peanut butter. Simmer for a few more minutes.

I served it with a bit of whole wheat harvest bread with olive oil for dipping. We had strawberries for dessert.

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