Saturday, December 5, 2009

Smoky Turkey Vegetable Soup

Do you have leftover turkey in your fridge or freezer looking for a recipe? This bowl of "healthy" is just perfect to have in the midst of a demanding work schedule, festive dinners, parties, holiday shopping and all the other things that try to lure me away from my food plan at this time of year. It makes a lot and keeps well in the refrigerator so I can lunch, snack or have a quick dinner ready at a moment's notice. This hearty, delicious soup is what I'll be eating for the next week!

When I told my husband the list of ingredients and he heard the word "kale," he balked. Having never eaten it before and not feeling particularly adventurous today, he asked if I would use spinach instead. I compromised and decided to use both (and told him he could eat around the kale if he didn't like it). He had to admit, when faced with both greens in his bowl, he couldn't even tell them apart and he gave an enthusiastic thumbs up for the soup, as I knew he would ;)

Kale is an incredible green! When cooked in soup, it has a mild flavor and really stands up to the heat and won't wilt to the point that it is unrecognizable. In this recipe, it enhances the smoky flavor I was trying to achieve. Kale is a wonderful source of protein, vitamins C and A, beta carotene, calcium and is one of the best natural sources of the elusive vitamin K. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer properties and works as an anti-inflammatory in the body. Hopefully, after tonight's good experience with kale, my husband will soon be adding it to my shopping list himself and requesting other recipes that highlight this delicious vegetable.

Smoky Turkey Vegetable Soup
(Makes eight 1½ cup servings)

6 slices of double smoked bacon, cut into ½" slices
½ large onion, chopped
1 leek, sliced into ½ rounds
2 carrots, cubed
3 stalks celery, sliced
½ bunch kale, washed and chopped (about 4 cups)
2 cups baby spinach
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1½ teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
One 14½ oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
½ cup frozen corn, thawed
8 cups turkey or chicken stock
2 cups cooked turkey, cubed
One 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the bacon in a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Turn heat to medium-low and slowly cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until fat has been rendered and bacon begins to brown. Add chopped onion and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and continue cooking on fairly low heat until onion is translucent and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add leek and continue cooking until soft. (Don't be in a hurry for this step because this slow cooking of the onion in the bacon will add a lot of smoky flavor to the soup.)

2. Add carrots and celery. Turn heat to medium and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped kale and spinach and cook until greens are wilted. Add seasonings, tomatoes, corn, stock and turkey to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium or low and simmer for 25 minutes. Add drained and rinsed beans to pot and continue simmering for 10 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings and add salt and pepper only if necessary.

Nutritional Information per serving (1½ cups): 191 calories, 20 g carbohydrate, 3.8 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 4.3 g fiber, 20.2 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

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