Spiced Boiled Peanuts

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We’ve been craving another road trip to Charleston, which always includes boiled peanuts along the way as we head north and east along Florida. With our recent trip to Spain, a weekend in New York City next month, and a few days in Northern California in February, it will probably be a while before we make it to South Carolina for another visit.

So when we were at the first Saturday Morning Market of the season and my eyes landed on boxes of raw peanuts at the Little Pond Farm tent, I had to have them! I didn’t really know how, but we were going to have boiled peanuts at home.

A little bit of online research informed me that this would be easy. The recipe is basically in the name: boil some peanuts. Now, part of the appeal of boiled peanuts is eating them from a warm paper bag in the car as Danny and I excitedly talk about all the things we’re going to do and everything we hope to eat when we pull up to Charleston.

Boiled Peanuts

Those peanuts are simply boiled in water and salt. At home, I decided to spice it up a bit by, you guessed it, adding spice. I landed on a recipe from Saveur that called for several ingredients including black pepper, garlic, cinnamon, and sugar.

After a few hours, the heady aroma from the kitchen lured me over but also worried me: would these be too spicy? Should I have started simpler? The peanut water was brownish, tinged with paprika. The lone cinnamon stick had swollen to triple its size. I scooped a few peanuts out of my enormous 8-quart wedding gift pot no one thought I’d really use (ha, look at me now!) and gave them a minute to cool before a taste test. I popped one in my mouth, sucking on the shell for a hit of the salty brine and gently cracked it open from its sides with my teeth. The glistening peanuts inside the shell were tender and irresistible. Oh, these will do more than hold us over until the next road trip. Like a bag of popcorn, we couldn’t stop eating them.

spiced boiled peanuts

A variation of the boiled peanuts you buy roadside heading north through Florida. Just throw everything in a pot and let it simmer away. These spiced boiled peanuts are as easy to make as they are delicious.

Serves 4 to 6.

2 pounds raw peanuts
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon crushed red chile flakes
1 tablespoon hot paprika
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 stick cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and 1 gallon water in an 8-quart pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, until peanuts are tender, about 4 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: Leftovers can be drained and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.

Recipe from Saveur.

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