West African sweet potato and peanut soup recipe


This West African soup puts sweet potatoes center stage. Onion and garlic offered aromatic backbone; using butter instead of oil to sauté them brought out the alliums’ sweet, nutty notes. Rather than pureeing peanuts into the soup, as many traditional recipes call for, we decided to use creamy peanut butter, which packed a flavor punch and gave the soup a smoother, more luxurious texture. We opted for a combination of chicken broth and water to give the soup a bit of savoriness without overpowering the other flavors. Recipes we found varied widely in the spices they added; in the end, we went with a simple combination of coriander, since its slightly floral flavor and aroma complemented the sweet potato nicely, and cayenne, which brought everything else into focus. A bit of fresh cilantro, stirred in at the end, echoed the coriander with bright freshness. This recipe was developed with standard sweet potatoes (called Beauregards), but Jewel and Red Garnet sweet potatoes also work well. Do stick with the orange-fleshed varieties; white- or purple-fleshed sweet potatoes, in conjunction with the peanut butter, will blend to an unappetizing color. For a spicier soup, use the larger amount of cayenne.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ⅛–¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced thin
  • 3½ cups chicken broth, plus extra as needed
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
How to Make It
  1. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, coriander, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add potatoes, broth, water, and peanut butter and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and cook until potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Working in batches, process soup in blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, then return to clean pot. Adjust consistency as needed with extra hot broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle individual portions with peanuts and cilantro and. Serve.

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