Boiled peanuts

Somewhere over the course of my childhood, I developed a taste for boiled peanuts. Maybe it was that year I lived in Georgia as a toddler, or maybe it was that southern neighbor of ours in Massachusetts. Regardless, I still crave boiled peanuts to this very day and dream about them far more than I care to admit. They’re like a cross between chick peas and roasted chestnuts, bean-like but also decidedly peanutty. I call them “redneck edamame“. When cooked properly, they have a wonderful soft and slightly chewy texture. I freaking love the things. Most other people I know, however, don’t.

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” There are a number of redneck activities you can occupy yourself with while you wait “

I’m not going to lie to you. If you’re curious whether or not you will like boiled peanuts, you probably won’t. I only know a handful of people who like them, myself included. Many of these people herald from India, where I am told boiled peanuts are a relatively common street food. Aside from that, I know one Texan who likes boiled peanuts and three or four folks from the Carolinas who grew up eating them. Everybody else I know, my Texan wife included, think that boiled peanuts are all kinds of icky.

There. That concludes my disclaimer. If you make this recipe and decide that you hate boiled peanuts, you have only yourself to blame. Now that we’ve weeded out all the wimps, let’s get cooking!

Who wants to make a peanut angel with me?

Who wants to make a peanut angel with me?


Ingredients

  • 2 lbs raw peanuts
  • 1-2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup table salt (or 1 cup Kosher salt)


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a crock pot or large stock pot
  • something to do for twelve hours


Directions

If it wasn’t so tricky to find raw peanuts, this would pretty much be the world’s easiest ingredient list. Raw peanuts usually start showing up at my local farmer’s market in late September and disappear again in December. You can also find them at Asian markets and/or in any decent-sized Chinatown. Once you finally locate some raw peanuts, buy a pile of them. I usually get two pounds at a time because that’s what will fit in my crock pot.

Be sure to wash your n... uhm... I mean produce. Be sure to wash your produce.

Be sure to wash your n… uhm… I mean produce. Be sure to wash your produce.

Take that lovely pile of peanuts and wash the bejiminy out of them. Peanuts grow in dirt. Nobody likes eating dirt. Wash harder. When the rinse water runs clear, the peanuts are about as clean as you can get them.

The general idea at this point is to simmer the peanuts all day long in salty water, which can be accomplished in a number of different ways. A pot on the stovetop works just fine, but I prefer using a slow cooker. Dump the peanuts into whatever cooking thingy you choose, cover with water, and add the salt. Bring the resulting brine water to a boil, turn down the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about eight to ten hours. If you’re using a crock pot, set the selector to ‘high’ and let it go for about twelve hours.

The salt ratio is a tricky thing to get correct, partly because everybody prefers slightly different amounts of salt, but also because the amount of water you need varies depending on the shape of your cooking vessel. The best advice I can give is to wait until the brine water is simmering and then taste a tiny spoonful of it. It should be salty but not repulsive, say a little bit less salty than ocean water. However salty the brine tastes is how salty the peanuts will be. Adjust the salt and water ratios accordingly, but do it early and do it ONLY ONCE.

Everyone in the pool!

Everyone in the pool!

So, how do you know when the peanuts are done? Well… uh… They certainly shouldn’t be crunchy at all, that’s for sure. If they crunch, they need to cook another few hours at least. They also shouldn’t be über-mushy, but rather somewhere halfway in between. It’s worth noting that you should not be alarmed at the apparent blandness of the peanuts as you taste test them. In my experience, the salt only seems to work its way into the nuts during the last 10% of the cook time or so. I have ruined more than one batch of boiled peanuts by panicking and adding more salt at the last minute, only to have the batch turn out lip-puckeringly over-brined. Don’t be a me.

There are a number of redneck activities you can occupy yourself with while you wait the twelve-ish hours it takes your peanuts to become boiled. You can build a potato gun, watch reruns of Honey Boo Boo, make a hammock out of duct tape, or go mattress surfing. When you’ve finished cleaning the mud out of your hair and replacing any teeth you’ve lost, you’re ready to enjoy a true redneck delicacy.

Note: If you like boiled peanuts and you’re not a redneck, I have probably just offended you. Stop being so sensitive.

I sure do love me some boiled peanuts.

I sure do love me some boiled peanuts.

Remove the peanuts from the brine and eat them hot. Delish! Whatever’s leftover will keep for about a week in the fridge, or many months in the freezer. If you’ve discovered that you do indeed like boiled peanuts, you might also want to try Cajun style. Throw a couple bags of Zatarain’s Crab Boil seasoning in the brine along with a jar of pickled jalapeños, juice and all, and you’re good to go.




tl;dr

Boiled peanuts

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs raw peanuts
  • 1-2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup table salt (or 1 cup Kosher salt)


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a crock pot


Directions

Wash peanuts thoroughly in cold water and place in crock pot. Cover with water, add salt, and cook on high for 12 hours. For Cajun style, add two bags of Zatarain’s Crab Boil and a jar of pickled jalapenos to the brine mixture.



See also


Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


Pappadeaux

meter-great+I’m glad I don’t live near a Pappadeaux. If I did, I’d be so huge you’d need a forklift and one of those canvas slings for transporting orca whales to get me out of the house. Pappadeaux isn’t exactly the last word when it comes to Louisiana-style cooking, but this restaurant chain based in the Southern U.S. sure does know how to put together a great plate of food.

” I’m going to blow out an O-ring. “

I pretty much grew up in California. This means that I take quality Mexican food for granted, I have no idea what a calzone is, and I think jambalaya is supposed to be made with pasta. One day, many moons ago, I got the chance to visit New Orleans and do some restaurant hopping in the French Quarter. My eyes (er, taste buds) were opened to the world of Creole cooking, and it immediately became one of my very favorite types of food. Although I don’t find myself in New Orleans very often, I do visit Houston regularly with my Texas-sourced better half. Every time we go I beg and plead and whine and grovel until someone drives me to Pappadeaux – my favorite Louisiana style restaurant not actually in Louisiana – just to shut me up.

Pappadeaux, pronounced 'poppa dough'. I think.

Pappadeaux, pronounced ‘poppa dough’. I think.

The menu at Pappadeaux is fairly extensive, but I don’t really care about most of it. It’s all very good indeed (yes, I’ve tried quite a number of dishes), but for me it’s all about the crawfish. Mmmmmmmmmmm, crawfish. Crawdaddies. Mudbugs.

Get. In. My. Belly.

For the sake of my fellow clueless Californians, I’ll explain what crawfish are. They’re small freshwater lobsters with a flavor similar to both prawns and saltwater lobsters, but as far as I’m concerned superior to both. They are less rubbery than regular lobster and more flavorful than prawns – a perfect balance. Pappadeaux prepares their crawfish a few different ways, but my favorites are fried and étouffée. Both of these appear on their “Crawfish Platter” along with a heap of dirty rice. Bingo.

Oh yeah, salad. I guess it's important.

Oh yeah, salad. I guess it’s important.

Shortly after taking my order, the waiter brings over… a salad? Oh, right, someone else at the table must have ordered a Pappas Greek salad. Wait, since when have there been other people at my table? Hm. They were probably the ones that drove me here, so I suppose I should be nice. Ok fine, I’ll play along and eat some green stuff.

Hey, it’s not bad! It’s severely lacking in crawfish of course, but besides that it’s excellent. There’s plenty of olives, peppers, and feta to go digging around for, but not too much. The dressing is tangy and well-portioned, and the lettuce is as fresh and crisp as can be. It’s a nice way to wile away the time until the star of the show arrives. Ah, and here it is.

Crawfish! Just looking at this picture makes me happy, happy, happy.

Crawfish! Just looking at this picture makes me happy, happy, happy.

Finally. I love this dish so much it’s hard to describe. Not because I lack the words – I’m just too busy eating it. The fried crawfish are crispy, light, flavorful, and not the slightest bit greasy. The breading is beautifully spiced and has a bit of a kick to it. The étouffée is creamy, rich, bursting with flavor, and not at all bursting with annoying vegetables or sprouts or any of the other silly things Californians feel obliged to ruin their food with. They know how to do things right around here. Speaking of right, the dirty rice is also very excellent and serves as a perfect complement to both styles of crawfish.

Ok, ok, time out. Take some deep breaths here. I have to slow down on the chowing or I’m going to blow out an O-ring. Pappadeaux is one of those places where I would stuff myself unconscious if I didn’t specifically make an effort to stop eating halfway through the meal and take the rest home for leftovers. As long as you use a gentle hand with the microwave, crawfish will reheat pretty well.

Even taking into consideration my irrational bias for both crawfish and Cajun food, Pappadeaux earns a glorious 28 out of 31 fried mudbugs. They really know what they’re doing in the kitchen at this place, and they are consistently above average – especially for a chain. Pappadeaux is a 100% for sure recommendation, so if you are traveling in the region you really should try and look one up. There’s even a Pappadeaux inside Houston Intercontinental Airport, should you find yourself on a stopover there with a grumbling stomach. As for me, I will definitely be back. Oh yes.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
Multiple locations throughout the U.S.
www.pappadeaux.com
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen on Urbanspoon


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Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.