A lot of times, when people say a soup is thick enough to be a meal, they're playing you. But this soup sustains. This recipe takes its cues from West Africa, particularly Senegal and The Gambia, known for peanut, or groundnut, stews.
Back in the day, salmon croquettes usually meant rich bindings and fillers (eggs, flour, cracker crumbs) to hold them together. And they were typically fried in an inch of bacon grease. Here, the binder is egg only, and the patties are pan-seared in a little olive oil.
My Uncle Paul and Aunt Sonia Bontemps, who helped found an African-American genealogical society, took Grandma on a trip to revisit the scenes of her youth and explore our family history. One myth, which can't be proved, is that the Bontemps family descended from Madagascar. The possibility encouraged us in the exploration of Madagascan foodstuffs and foodways, culminating in this hearty and healthy recipe.
Many enslaved African-Americans came from beekeeping countries; others interacted with certain Native American groups who bartered with beeswax and honey. This candy deliciously celebrates those all-but-forgotten intertwinings in early American society. It also celebrates George Washington Carver, who advocated for everything peanut.
6 of 6Photo: Courtesy Clarkson Potter/Publishers
Soul Food Love
Caroline Randall Williams is an award-winning poet and young adult novelist currently pursuing her MFA at the University of Mississippi. Her first cookbook, Soul Food Love, which she co-authored with her mother, Alice Randall, is due out in February 2015.