My favorite soup, which I’ll never serve

If I had to pick one true soup as my favorite, peanut wins.

What, you’ve never had peanut soup?

You must eat at camp.

My favorite soup is the one we can’t serve — a peanut-gluten-dairy bomb that packs too many potential food allergies into one dish — but is so wonderful, rich and smooth, and totally worth sharing.

I first had it — as perhaps you did — at the Kings Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg while Julie and I were on our honeymoon. Over the years, I buddied up the executive chef, John Gonzalez (now working on his own a block from the historic section) and got the recipe, only to find it in the Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook, which is one of my favorites.

I served it at The Record seven or eight years ago, when I used to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the staff. That was 50 people. It won’t fly with 150 at camp.

No matter. It’s excellent. Julie made it for dinner tonight, and if you’re up for something a little different, it’s worth a try. Serve it with grilled chicken and roasted vegetables the next time you get a cool night.

PEANUT SOUP

Technically peanut butter soup, since it doesn’t use whole peanuts. Finish it with a spoonful of chopped salted nuts and a sprinkle of cayenne.

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 2 cups half-and-half

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes.

Add chicken stock and increase to high. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes or until thickened.

Strain into a clean saucepan and discard solids.

Over low heat, add peanut butter and half-and-half, stirring gently until the peanut butter is melted and evenly distributed. Serve hot.

Servings: 10.

Adapted from: Kings Arms Tavern, John Gonzales, executive chef.

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