http://www.jld.net/Last week one of my colleagues, Mike Bloyer, brought in a small bowl of peanuts -- some that he'd spared from a Spanish Class project. Move over banned substances! These Spicy Peanuts will grab your palate and grab your brain -- in a good way. Using a (surprise!) crock pot, they are easy to make. And peanuts are cheap.
Cayenne and chili powder give the nuts their heat. Thyme doesn't read as "thyme," but gives an exotic, elusive vegetal taste. The brown sugar rounds out all of the flavors. Bonus for hosts: You may freeze these nuts for a week.
(Extemely adapted from "Ragin' Cajun Pecans" from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: 200 recipes for healthy and hearty one-pot meals that are ready when you are, Robin Robertson, Harvard Common Press, Boston 2004, p. 25.)
Michael's Spicy Roasted Peanuts
2-1/2 pounds blanched peanuts (Roasted, salted peanuts are a fine substitute)
1/4 c olive oil (any good tasting olive oil; designer oil not required)
1/2 -1 tsp cayenne
1 T fresh ground black pepper
2T chili powder (pure chili, please, not chili powder with salt)
1 T dried thyme
1/2 c brown sugar
1 T salt, plus more after roasting
1. Combine the peanuts and oil in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes. Because my elderly-$5-in-a-garage-sale slow cookers have only exuberant “High Heat,” I used a Nesco Roaster with a “slow cooker” setting.
2. Combine the spices, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Add them to the peanuts. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for 2-1/2 hours. Stir occasionally – every 30 minutes or so.
3. After 2-1/2 hours, add an additional 2 tsp of salt. Remove the peanuts to a parchment covered baking sheet to cool.