Pass the Peanuts, Please!

By Anonymous Paul on 7 March, 2014

I was recently gifted with literal basket-loads of food. Several clusters of green plantains, kilos of Taiwanese yellow sweet potatoes and bags of just harvested peanuts. Huge, fat ones; the soil attached to them still moist. I guess seeing the peanuts got me excited the most. I usually have these with a cold drink in salted, sun-dried form. But getting these fresh ones allowed me to make a batch of boiled peanuts that I haven’t had for years! Maybe decades, no kidding.

I wanted a little more dimension to the end product so aside from using a brine to cook the peanuts in, I thought of putting some spice in as well.

I pretty much just eyeballed the proportions. And I used a pressure cooker to speed up cooking time. Without it you’d have to keep cooking on the fire up to 8 hours versus less than an hour with a pressure cooker. Your choice.

All fairly simple. First, rinse the peanuts and remove as much dirt. You have the option to let this soak for a bit in the water to soften. Some do it overnight, I just left it in water while prepping the spice mixture.

Of which I used Old Bay. Well, a DIY version of it. Here’s a sample recipe/proportion approximating it if you’re doing it at home as well:

1 Tbsp celery salt
1 Tbsp ground bay leaves
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp nutmeg-fresh ground if possible
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves

But if you don’t have Old Bay and you can’t be bothered to make your own, I think using five spice powder would work. Or even better just throw in a few pods of whole star anise and that would work fine also. Otherwise the spice thing is totally optional. At the very least cook the peanuts in brine.

So in the pot I put in the peanuts. About a kilo. Or more. Then fill with water to cover, plus a little more allowing for evaporation. Then I put a handful of salt in there. Then a few spoons of the spice mix. Cover, turn up the heat and start timing when the contraption starts whistling. About 45 minutes to an hour. Cool.

And what you’ll get is a great batch of legumes. Soft, buttery, sweet and mushy. Squirts a little bit when you squeeze the shell. And cracks your lips when you eat from all that salt. Totally addictive. Best way to enjoy is to line a table with newspapers and just place a bucket on there with some cold beers.

For a next batch I think throwing in a ham bone or bacon in the cooking liquid would be a worthwhile experiment.


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