On turkey soup and the love of colors: It’s a tale of two cities

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This soup is a tribute to cheerful, vibrant colors. I love it because it is quick and easy to prepare, the ingredients are simple and widely available, and the energetic colors of the veggies put me in a good mood instantly.

You may find my enthusiasm exaggerated – after all, it’s just another soup, right? – but I assure you it’s not. If you compare my deep, richly nuanced present with my almost colorless past, my love of colors becomes easy to understand.

I grew up during communism in a small apartment in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. Back then, Bucharest was a city of thin trees and lifeless plants, and its skyline was dominated by pale apartment buildings. Its asphalt roads melted in the heat of the summer, making the city stuffy and hardly habitable. It was an urban agglomeration made up of pollution, disenchantment, and nostalgia. It was a city of silence, which glorified the gray.

As a child I learned to accept the color gray, yet I always longed for something else. I wanted light and beauty in my life – the kind of beauty that life within gray walls just couldn’t offer me. When we moved to the UK I realized that city life did not have to be gloomy or restrained – and this is when I started to like colors. Some years later, we arrived in Chicago and I was immediately blown away by the diverse and cosmopolitan color palette of the city. Here, in the Windy City, I put the gray past behind me and I started to build a colorful home for myself and my family. This turkey soup is a proof of my newly found passion for colors.

In Europe I would have used potatoes or pasta to give body to the soup. Here however, under the influence of a different cultural environment, I decided to use sweetcorn, which added more vibrancy to the dish.

Ingredients

2 turkey breasts (the ones I bought weighed a bit over 2lb)

1 15oz can sweetcorn, drained

3 medium tomatoes

1 medium red bell pepper

1 medium green bell pepper

1 parsnip

1 carrot

1 medium onion

1 bunch parsley

Salt and pepper (to taste)

1 tsp unsalted butter (optional)

1

Cut the turkey breasts into cubes and put them in a large soup pot. Cover with water, bring to boil, and let it simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes.

2

Cut the peppers, parsnip, carrot and onion into cubes. Add the sweetcorn to the mix:

3

Put the vegetables into the soup pot. Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes:

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In the meantime, prepare the tomatoes by cutting them into medium-sized chunks:

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Add the tomatoes to the soup after the 20 minutes I mentioned above have passed. Let the soup simmer over a medium heat for an extra 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6

Chop the parsley and add it at the very end:

7

Since turkey meat does not have a lot of fat, I usually add a cube of butter at this point, which gives the soup some fat and extra flavor. This step is optional though.

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Turn off the heat. Serve the soup with extra chopped parsley sprinkled on top:

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This is a healthy and light dish, which brightens up my day and gives my body the nutrients it badly needs during the winter season. It is an energetic display of fireworks on a plate, which never fails to enchant me. As I stare at this soup in wonderment, I feel blessed that my present is colorful, and my mind thinks many “happy thoughts” for the future.

Do you have a dish that cheers you up? I’d love to know 🙂


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