I come from a long line of soup-makers (and soup eaters!) It truly is a lunch and supper staple for my family. Soup is so versatile and it tends to improve with age as the flavours mellow out and blend together. Homemade soup is easy to freeze, budget friendly, can be packed in a school or work lunch (in a thermos or to be heated on the spot), and makes for a filling but healthy meal at any time of year. My mom and grandmothers are phenomenal soup chefs. My maternal grandma never follows a recipe. She throws in a little of this and a little of that. Her soup never turns out the same way twice, but it is invariably delicious and a favourite among her grandchildren! Mom also is a soup master artist working in the medium of soup! She regularly cooks large batches of her different soups – turkey vegetable, roasted vegetable, seafood chowder, beef vegetable, cream of squash, Thai chicken, roasted red pepper, and more. She then freezes them in meal-sized portions to be thawed and used whenever she likes. I am hoping to get into this clever habit myself – it solves two problems, lack of time for meal prep and the desire to eat healthy home-cooked meals without the hassle and mess of always cooking from scratch three meals per day!
Ideally, from a homesteading perspective, this soup would be made from ingredients we have grown and stored here on Willow Lane Farm: homegrown turkey, fresh, canned, or frozen garden vegetables, fresh or dried garden herbs, homemade turkey broth, home canned tomatoes, etc. We are not at this stage of our homesteading journey quite yet, though we will continue to work toward it! I do like the concept of large-batch cooking and using our big deep freeze to make life a little simpler and to start changing my consumer habits. Making and storing your own food certainly counts as becoming more self-sufficient as you will require less frequent trips to the grocery store.
While cooking, I tend to not measure my ingredients – I like to eye-ball and cook to taste. This time I attempted to measure the ingredients so I could share my recipe. I am also a fan of making substitutions in recipes. See an ingredient you don’t like or don’t have on hand? Omit it or use something else! This recipe is so simple – don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. Most of these things you likely already have on hand or you can make substitutions or omissions!
For example, this recipe could easily be adapted by using either ground pork or ground beef with beef broth. Try ground chicken if you aren’t fond of turkey. Or you could omit meat altogether and use vegetable broth for a vegetarian option. I wouldn’t typically use store-bought canned green beans but I happened to have a tin in the cupboard that needed to be used. I decided to throw them in and was very pleased with the results. You could certainly substitute the vegetables I used for fresh, frozen, or canned corn or peas. I am trying to keep my diet relatively low-carb, but you certainly could add in some potatoes, pasta, barley, beans, etc. to make the soup a little hardier. I recommend using spices to taste – add a little, taste, then add a little more if needed – for example, I used 4 cloves of garlic, but you may not like that much garlic in your soup. There are many possibilities, be creative!
I garnished our soup with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and a few extra chopped basil leaves – totally optional!
Recipe is low carb, low fat, and gluten free. Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 90 minutes | Serves 8
- 4 packages ground turkey (approx. 4 lbs)
- 2 large yellow onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 2 cartons (900 mL each) low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 can (796 mL) diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1/2 cup red wine or cooking sherry
- 1 can (156 mL) tomato paste
- 1 can (398 mL) cut green beans, drained
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix (I used Hidden Valley)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried thyme
1. Over medium heat, cook ground turkey with onions, garlic, and salt & pepper in a large Dutch oven. Stir often.
2. Add carrots and celery to the pot. Cook until tender (but not too soft) about 7 – 8 minutes.
3. Add in the rest of your ingredients (except for the spinach). Bring the soup to a boil over medium high heat.
4. Reduce heat to low. Add in the spinach leaves. Simmer soup for at least an hour for best flavour.
5. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
6. Serve with a salad, buns, or biscuits – or enjoy just on its own!