In addition to being hearty and delicious, this week’s recipe for turkey soup is loaded with the cancer-fighting phytochemicals found in tomatoes, celery, carrots and onions. It also provides the perfect opportunity to use any turkey you may have left over in the freezer from the holiday season. Easy to make and packed with both flavor and nutrition, it’s a recipe that is sure to become a family favorite.
A native of the Americas, the turkey is one of only two domesticated birds originating in the New World. According to historians, European explorers took wild turkeys to Europe from Mexico in the early 1500s. They were so successfully domesticated there that English colonists brought them back to the states when they settled on the Atlantic Coast, establishing the bird as standard American fare.
Although domestic turkeys probably don’t have the cunning of their wild cousins, when it comes to nutrition, they are still a smart choice. Turkey is a rich source of protein and is one of the leaner meats available at your supermarket.
Tomatoes, which form the base of this soup, impart a rich taste and bold color. The red pigment in tomatoes is provided by lycopene, a compound that, according to experts, is probably linked to lower prostate cancer risk. The addition of celery, a member of the carrot family, imparts a subtle aromatic flavor to the soup. Carrots themselves provide some sweetness along with a hearty dose of beta-carotene.
Barley, which is thought to have been a staple food in the Middle East as long as 5,000 years ago, adds a pleasing consistency to the soup as well as additional fiber. The blend of herbs and spices will wow your palette without the sodium overload that many of today’s soups provide.
Turkey Tomato Soup
– Makes 6 servings
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless turkey cutlets
- 3 cups water
- 4 medium-size celery stalks sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 medium-size carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 (28 oz.) can diced, unsalted tomatoes
- 1/3 cup medium pearl barley
- 1 tsp. dried marjoram, crumbled*
- 1 tsp. thyme, crumbled*
- 1 tsp. basil*
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- Pinch of red pepper, optional
- *3 teaspoons of dry Italian spices may be substituted
Cut turkey into bite-sized pieces. Heat oil in large saucepan over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add turkey and brown on all sides. Add water slowly and carefully to avoid oil splatter.
Add celery, onion, carrots, tomatoes with juice, barley and spices. Add red pepper flakes, if desired, for an extra kick. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 90 minutes.
Per serving: 270 calories, 6 g total fat (1g saturated fat), 21 g carbohydrate, 31g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 380 mg sodium.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) offers a Nutrition Hotline online at www.aicr.org or via phone 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday, at 1-800-843-8114. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer.