I'm a soup fan. This is a fact. But not all soups are equal. This is also a fact. Visit a lunchtime cafe with me and you'll probably hear me asking if the soup is 'smooth' or 'chunky' and I can confirm that a 'smooth' soup will virtually never get a yes from me. Admittedly, I do enjoy this Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup and this Roasted Carrot Soup gets my vote for its velvety texture (and stunning aesthetics), but generally, in my world, it's chunks all the way.
It might explain why I'm also not a huge fan of mashed potatoes - blending or pureeing anything to within an inch of its life, just feels too reminiscent of weaning. Or orthodontic work. I choose texture every time.
Seeing Turkey Chilli Soup on a menu was an easy decision for me; there's no chance it will be smooth and there's every chance it will be delicious.
Where did I get the inspiration for this soup?
My inspiration for this particularly delicious soup came from a fantastic little café in Orleans, Cape Cod called Hot Chocolate Sparrow. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you might have heard me mention it before and if you don't subscribe yet and might like to, here's a link to put that right.
Every day at Hot Chocolate Sparrow, there is a soup and on our first visit, we were treated to Turkey Chilli Soup. We paired it with a toasted panini featuring roasted peppers, mozzarella and pesto and it proved to be a wondrous combination. If there's one thing that will always trump a soup for me it's 'soup AND a sandwich'.
Needless to say, we returned to Hot Chocolate Sparrow many times during our trip, but the soups were always something other than our first love. Still delicious but really not the dream.
So what is so special about this Turkey Chilli Soup?
I love a chilli but I don't always want the rice that comes with it or the heaviness. With this chilli soup, you can get the best of both worlds; the warmth, the tastiness, but a little lighter - a little looser. Replacing the traditional beef with turkey (or chicken, to be honest - I'm unconvinced you'd be able to tell them apart) also lightens it and is a small nod to the environment at the same time.
How do I make this soup?
- Finely chop an onion and 2 peppers (I chose 1 yellow and 1 red for aesthetics).
- Sauté the onion, peppers and garlic in a large frying pan until the onions are translucent and the peppers are beginning to soften.
- Add the turkey/chicken mince to the pan and break it up with a wooden fork or spoon to get it as crumbly as possible.
- Once the meat is no longer pink, add the spices (chilli powder, ground cumin, cayenne pepper) and a good amount of salt and pepper. Stir through over the heat until it's smelling fantastic.
- Tip in 2 cans of chopped tomatoes and about half of the chicken stock. Stir well.
- Bring up to the boil and then simmer gently (without a lid for 40 minutes). Keep an eye on the consistency and add the remainder of the stock as it's needed (the rate that you add the stock will depend on how much the size of your pan can accomodate and how runny you want your soup to be.)
- When there is 5 minutes of cooking time remaining, take out 2 ladlefuls of the chilli soup and puree this with a stick blender or in a small food processor. Now add this back into the soup. This stage is optional but it does give the soup more body.
- Add the kidney beans in the last 5 minutes of cooking and taste for seasoning.
What have I learned about making this Turkey Chilli Soup?
- Turkey and chicken mince are interchangeable - chicken mince may be more widely available
- If you use less stock, the recipe behaves like a traditional chilli - ie something that you might serve with rice. I like that you can adapt in this way to make two different meal experiences.
- The smaller the chunks, the soupier it feels - this includes the vegetables as well as how much the mince is broken into smaller pieces.
- It's quite filling, as soups go, so it lends itself to smaller portions - in other words, this quantity will go a LONG way.
- It freezes beautifully.
- It has proved to be a popular flask filling.
- You can swap the kidney beans for a different bean - I'm a fan of black beans, but whatever you choose is perfect.
- It lends itself well to toppings for even more texture, or a fancy final flourish - here I went for avocado, sweetcorn, tomatoes, spring onions and spring onions. But honestly, it holds up really well on its own too.
To be honest, I also love that this soup transports me back to the Cape and the blue skies and the holiday pace. Funny that a warming soup is one of my significant summer memories, but then I've never been one to let the warm weather get in the way of my love for soup …Print