Sopa de Maní is one of the most famous soups in Bolivia. We eat this peanut soup as an appetizer before our main course at lunch time and that is because in Bolivia, just like in the majority of Latin America, the mid-day meal is the most important meal of the day. Around noon, on weekdays, everybody stops working for several hours so they can go home to eat. This is our time to share food with family and afterwards to have a siesta. In Bolivia my family would usually have this soup on Sundays at a pension. Pensiones are little rustic restaurants and almost all of them serve this Sopa de Maní.
Our most memorable time that we made this soup was last winter when we were visiting our friend Carrie in Montreal. While Carrie was at work, me, James and Cathe spent the day cooking food all day long for a Bolivia themed party with all the best Bolivian dishes. After preparing most of the evenings meal (including this Sopa de Maní) we decided to go out for a walk to try and find the famous bagels of Montreal. After nearly 4 hours of wandering all over Montreal (we did find the bagels by the way) we came back to Carries house to finish up for the party and found that Carries entire apartment, floor to ceiling, was filled with smoke and the most horrible smell.
As it turns out, we had each thought that the other had turned off the stove earlier. You see, Cathes tip for keeping the soup from boiling over is to keep a spoon in the pot, and after storming into the kitchen it was clear exactly where the smell was coming from. Our once delicious Sopa de Maní had actually simmered away all day to nothing but the ground nuts and a plastic spoon melting into the pot. We needed to air out the apartment fast, and so even though it was -15 outside we opened every door and window and started work at ridding the apartment of the smoke and odor. We lit candles and incense to try to mask the burnt plastic smell and after getting over our incredible luck that our oversight hadn’t caused the building to burn down I ran to the nearby marché and bought some new peanuts so we could put together another pot of Sopa de Maní…. this is how important this soup is to us Bolivians. We simply could not have had the party without it!
This is one of my favourite dishes from home and I think you are going to love this soup too!
The recipe calls for raw peanuts but if you can’t find them raw just buy roasted peanuts and rinse the salt off. This makes enough soup for about 6 people.
- 1 1/2 cups peanuts (preferably raw) / tazas de mani
- 2 tbsps olive oil / cucharadas de aceite de oliva
- 1 yellow onion / cebolla
- 1 clove garlic / ajo
- 1 large carrot / zanahoria
- 6 to 8 cups of chicken stock / tazas de caldo de pollo
- 8 chicken drumsticks / piernas de pollo
- 1 to 2 cups of rigatoni (I like it with lots of pasta) / tazas de pasta rigatoni
- 1 potato / papa
- 1 handful of parsley / punal de perejil
- vegetable oil to fry / aceite vegetal para freir
- Salt and pepper to taste / sal y pimienta a gusto
- Blend the peanuts with a little bit of water until smooth and set aside / licuar el maní con un poco de agua y dejar a un lado
- Cut the potato into small fries and fry them in oil until they are done. Set aside / cortar las papas en pequeñas rodajas, como haciendo papas fritas pero aun mas pequeñas.
- Dice the onion, slice the carrots, and mince the garlic and set aside / cortar la cebolla, la zanahoria y el ajo y dejar a un lado
- Heat the oil in a large pot, add the garlic and the onion. Cook the onion until it is soft and changes color / Calentar el aceite en un olla, agregar el ajo y la cebolla, cocinar hasta que esten blandos y hayan cabiado de color
- Add the carrots, cook until they soften a little. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 2-3 minutes / Agregar la zanahoria, cocinar hasta que este blanda, agregar el pollo y dejar cocinar por dos minutos
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring everything to a boil, add the pureed peanuts and let it simmer for 1 hour / Agregar el caldo de pollo y dejar hervir, despues agrege el mani y dejar cocinar la mezcla por una hora
- Remove the chicken from the soup, shred the meat off the bones and add the meat back into the broth / sacar el pollo y desmenuzarlo, despues de esto volver a ponerlo a la sopa
- Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as necessary / pruebe la sopa y agregar sal y pimienta si es necesario
- Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente – between 6-8 minutes / Agregar la pasta rigatoni hasta que este lista
- Sprinkle the soup with fries and chopped parsley before serving / Servir con papas fritas y parejil encima