I’ve been eating a lot of heavy food lately. I do it every fall. Once the rain and cooler weather comes back I start cooking – and eating – more. I start craving roasted meats, delicious pastas and decadent baked goods. I also start enjoying juicy aromatic red wines again (well, I like them all year round but I LOVE them in cooler weather). Add the fact that I’ve been starting to test some new Christmas baking ideas out and I am beginning to feel my jeans getting tighter already. I know what that means. I need to exercise a little more and eat a little less to get back on track. Nothing helps keep me full and satisfied like a big bowl of warm, vegetable-filled homemade soup. I wanted to make one that was extremely healthy and low in calories. I added meat to the soup because I wanted the ‘staying power’ that protein provides while keeping the level of fat very low. That’s the main reason I opted to use lean ground turkey as opposed to ground pork or beef, but you could use whatever ground meat you like or even leave the meat out for a vegetarian version!
About the use of the caraway seeds….
I LOVE rye bread. A few months ago I was going through the bulk bins and checking out/sniffing all the different spices when I came upon one I wasn’t really familiar with – caraway. Once I smelled it I knew where I had tasted it before. In my much loved rye bread. In all my years working in restaurants I don’t recall ever using a recipe that called for caraway. I bought some seeds knowing that eventually I would find/come up with a recipe where I could use this delicious spice. Yesterday was that day. The flavour in the soup is very subtle. You almost wouldn’t know what you were tasting unless you already knew the caraway was in there. But once you know, you think ‘ahhh, that’s what that lovely flavour is’.
As I always say when making any soup, the sum will only be as good as its parts, meaning make sure all your ingredients are great on their own and the final product will be much better. There is no better example than broth. A broth can literally ‘make or break’ a soup. That’s why I always opt to use homemade chicken broth as the base for my soups. The broths I make are good enough to drink on their own. They’re made with LOTS of herbs and spices and love. If you must use store-bought broth, use the best quality stuff you can. You should be able to enjoy it on it’s own. If you don’t, you won’t enjoy it in the soup either.
Don’t worry about getting the measurements exactly right. If you have a little extra carrot or cabbage, or a little less turkey it won’t make a difference. It’s a soup after all….
- 1 – 1.5 cup lean ground turkey meat
- 4 – 5 cups cabbage – shredded or diced
- 1/2 cup onion – diced
- 1 cup carrot – large dice
- 3 cups spinach PACKED – shredded
- 1 large can diced tomato (28oz can)
- 8 cups chicken broth (2 litres)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic -minced
- 1/2 cup parsley – chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp caraway seeds – crushed
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- GARNISH: parmesan cheese and green onion
- Get all of your vegetables ready for cooking. Using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, crush the caraway seeds (if you don’t have either, you can wrap them in plastic wrap and bang them with the back of a knife handle).
- In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, carrot, salt, pepper, crushed caraway seeds and turkey and cook, stirring often, breaking up turkey meat as you stir. About 3 minutes.
- Add half the parsley, cabbage, canned tomato and chicken stock and simmer on low heat until cabbage is softened. Around 10 minutes.
- Add spinach and rest of parsley and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Taste soup and adjust seasoning as desired.
Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and green onion