The first time I ever tried boiled (apparently pronounced baw-led) peanuts was in Georgia. Jess knew about this real nice spot called Fred’s Famous Peanuts. It was just a little old country shop that you’d miss if you didn’t know it was there. I could smell the smoke and that distinct boiled peanut smell as soon as we got out of the car. They were the self-proclaimed best peanuts in the world and after tasting them, I can’t disagree. Fell in love immediately.
The boiled peanuts were really meaty. Not steak meaty necessarily, but that’s the best way I can think of to describe it. They had body to them. They kept their form but they were soft. The texture was unique and the thing that impressed me was how full of flavor they were. It’s that low boil/all day simmer that does it. As the heat releases from the nut, it draws in more of that flavorful liquid and pretty much self-marinates. In that process, the nut just sucks up all that boiling liquid like a sponge. It’s going to taste like whatever you put in it and it’s going to keep the peanuts from drying up.
Now, everyone eats peanuts… but up North, we eat them dry roasted with salt at a ball game or in a bar with beer. We throw the shells on the ground and it’s considered a real American pastime. That’s what peanuts have always been to me. But these things were something else, and I wanted to create them at home. And I figured what better time to experiment than during pumpkin-flavored-everything season?
We decided to do a fairly basic pumpkin beer boil, but here’s some variations you might want to try – you could make them heartier by adding molasses (for a really deep and rich flavor) or you could put a little bit of Guinness in with the pumpkin (it’s strong so not a lot, but just a little to give it a layer of flavor). You could put a little citrus in it if you’d like or something fall-y like anise. Even rosemary would open up a new herbaceous flavor combo.
The more you layer your flavors, the more it sparks the taste buds on your tongue. Bitter, sweet, salty, sour. Any time you put multiple flavors in your food, it just opens up those pores on your tongues and makes you taste new things.
- 2 lb bag of raw peanuts
- 1 bottle pumpkin beer of choice
- 3 cups of water (to fill)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp vanilla
Add all of your ingredients to a crockpot and cook on high for 6-8 hours. You just want it to simmer but not rapidly boil, so it may depend on your crockpot. When you’re done, cut it off, let it cool on the counter, and then throw it in the fridge and let it sit in the liquid for at least 24 hours.