Clocking in at just 64 minutes, “Dumbo” (1941) is one of the shortest Disney films out there, but it is also one of the greatest. For those of you who haven’t seen this heartwarming Disney classic, “Dumbo” begins when the stork delivers a baby elephant to Mrs. Jumbo, veteran of the circus, but the newborn is ridiculed because of his truly enormous ears and dubbed “Dumbo”. After being separated from his mother, Dumbo is relegated to the circus’ clown acts; it is up to his only friend, a mouse, to assist Dumbo to achieve his full potential.
Though there are no big Broadway numbers, no breathtaking backgrounds or animation. In fact, this is the only Walt Disney animated feature film that has a title character who doesn’t speak. It is within Dumbo’s characters and story that its universal appeal lies. Who hasn’t ever felt like and outcast? How many of us haven’t realized we need no magic feather to unlock the potential within ourselves, so as long as we have confidence and faith? It’s a beautiful theme, and a truly touching film.
One of my fondest memories from childhood was when my family and I would go see the Circus Parade in downtown Milwaukee. I loved every second of it – The animals, the colors, the slightly terrifying clowns, and of course… the peanuts. Popcorn, cotton candy, and a big old bag of peanuts were shared (perhaps reluctantly, but still shared) between my sister and my two cousins as we watched the parade unfold. So when thinking of a dish to pair with this perfect little Disney film, my mind went straight to peanuts.
Fortunately for me, my good friend Charlie, who’s turning into quite the impressive chef according to his SnapChat, sent me a recipe for this creamy Thai carrot and peanut soup. I remember reading through the recipe and thinking “Oh my God, there isn’t a single ingredient on this list that I don’t like,” and it also meant I got to bust out the immersion blender Parker’s grandmother got me that I have been dying to play with.
Needless to say, the rest was history.
- 1/2 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 pound carrots, scrubbed (or peeled) and chopped (~4 cups)
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 cups Veggie Stock + 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup creamy or crunchy salted natural peanut butter (use less for a less intense PB flavor)
- 2 tsp chili garlic sauce (use less for less spice)
- Toppings: Fresh basil, cilantro, or mint; coconut milk; brown sugar or agave nectar (sub honey if not vegan); Sriracha hot sauce
- Coconut or Olive Oil for sautéing
- Heat a large pot over medium heat.
- Dice onion and garlic. Add to pot with 1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil (or nonstick spray). Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
- Season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper, then add veggie stock and 2 cups of water and stir.
- Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender (test by cutting a larger piece of carrot in half – it should cut with ease).
- Transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth and creamy. (Cover with a towel in case your lid leaks any soup while blending.)
- Add peanut butter and chili garlic sauce to the blender and blend to combine, using a ‘puree’ or ‘liquify’ setting if you have it.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. For a touch of added sweetness, add a Tbsp or so of brown sugar, maple syrup or agave nectar (or honey if not vegan). Add more chili garlic sauce for more heat.
- Serve immediately with fresh basil or herbs of choice. A drizzle of coconut milk will add a creamy, sweet touch. Serve with sriracha for extra heat.
This recipe is truly delicious. Big bold flavors, and a ton of fun to make. I highly recommend it! It may take you longer than it would to actually watch “Dumbo” (chopping up carrots can take awhile), but it’s so incredibly worth it! Happy eating, everyone.