Here in the sultry section of summer, apparently attention has turned to two Southern traditions: Peanuts in Co'Cola (or RC, or Dr Pepper, or Pepsi), and boiled peanuts.
First, Serious Eats has a blog post up about the great summer treat of pouring salted peanuts in your bottle of soda. They reach a few conclusions: Yes, it has to be a soft drink in a glass bottle; yes, it has to involve pouring in salted, roasted peanuts; and yes, people from areas other than "around here" find this behavior puzzling. Read it here.
Just as we were absorbing that, along came the James Beard Foundation's blog, Delights and Prejudices, featuring a recipe from Charlotte's Marc Jacksina (formerly of Lulu, currently of Halcyon) for boiled peanuts made with Cheerwine, Tabasco and some Asian touches such as star anise and mirin. Here's the blog post, and the recipe is below. (Seaweed in boiled peanuts, chef? I don't even want to know what gave you that idea.)
Cheerwine Boiled Peanuts
From Marc Jacksina of Halcyon Flavors of the Earth, for the James Beard Foundation.
4 cups raw (unroasted peanuts) in the shell
1 (3 by 5 inch) sheet kombu (dried seaweed)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 whole star anise
2 cups Cheerwine or other cherry soda
1 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon white soy sauce
2 dashes Tabasco
Combine the peanuts, kombu, salt and star anise in a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 2 to 3 hours, adding more water as necessary to keep the peanuts covered.
Strain and shell the peanuts. (Discard the kombu and star anise.) You should be left with about 2 cups of peanuts.
In a clean medium pot, combine the shelled peanuts with the Cheerwine, mirin, white soy sauce, and Tabasco. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Lay the peanuts on a parchment-lined sheet tray and cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.