Caribbean Turkey Soup
Because I am a mental health service user, I am interested in different techniques that can be used to reinforce a positive state of mind. I have found out over years of battling with mental health problems that there is no magic wand cure but there are ways that you can improve your standard of living. I believe that we should all be encouraged and motivated to strive towards recovery; however bleak things might look there is always light at the end of the tunnel if you look hard enough. It is sometimes just the little changes you make to your lifestyle that can make a huge effect on how well you are.
I’m a person who loves food and loves to cook, and I love the feeling of accomplishment when you put a meal on the table and people enjoy it. I am always tinkering about with ideas for meals and dreaming up recipes so naturally I became interested in food and mood and the positive effect the right sort of food can have on your headstate. I think healthy food really is one of the key factors when dealing with a mental health issue and although people sometimes associate healthy food with boring food, this doesn’t have to be the case. Healthy food can be packed with flavour.
I devised this recipe myself; it’s not too hard to make and I think it tastes lovely and it genuinely seems to keep me happier and more grounded when I cook food like this
3X Turkey Breasts
All purpose Jamaican seasoning
A Butternut Squash
A few cloves of garlic
A sweet potato
4 Waxy potatoes
1 can chicken noodle soup (preferably low fat)
Medium Hot fresh Chillies
A couple of stalks of celery
A few splashes of Oil
Salt and pepper
A chicken stock cube
Red Bell pepper
Coriander and thyme (fresh is better but not essential)
Method and nutritional information
First dice the turkey and the butternut squash into bite sized chunks.
Fry lightly in olive oil with the Jamaican all purpose seasoning, salt and pepper to taste and garlic.
(You add the butternut squash early on so it will basically disintegrate which adds a lovely richness and texture to the soup
I think all purpose seasoning should be part of everyone’s spice rack as it is delicious with just about every savoury meat dish but it works especially well with this. Soups like this are traditionally made with Chicken but I have chosen turkey because for one it is more flavoursome and two because turkey in one of the foods that is proven to enhance positive mood, Also if you are a garlic lover, do not be afraid to add a lot of it, garlic is also good for your mind.)
When the turkey is golden brown, remove it with the butternut squash and garlic from the frying pan.
Move it to a big casserole or stew pot, fill the pot three quarters full with water from the kettle, make sure you cover everything.
Add the chicken stock cube and more seasoning to taste.
Bring to the boil, allow to simmer for twenty minutes.
While the mixture is simmering, it’s a good time to prepare the rest of the vegetables.
Peel and cube the waxy potatoes and sweet potatoes into chunks.
Chop pieces of vegetable as big or small as you need, depending on how you prefer you soup to be textured.
(I am using a Red pepper rather than a green or yellow one because Red peppers are apparently more effective on your state of mind as they have been out in the sun for longer so have more nutrients. The spicy chilli peppers are also very healthy for your mind and body)
After the soup has simmered add all of these vegetables, as well as a small handful of chopped thyme and chopped coriander.
(If you don’t have fresh herbs don’t worry as they are not essential to the dish, I just personally think they enhance the flavour sensation, you can use dried instead or even just cut them out altogether)
Add the chicken noodle soup to your pot.
(This is a traditional Caribbean method and adds a lovely tang and texture to the soup I have specified a low fat version here because lower fat food is usually better for your health. Weight watchers do a particularly good one but If you cannot find a low fat version any chicken noodle soup dried or canned will do the job)
. Now all there is left to do is leave the pan to simmer until all the ingredients are cooked through into a rich flavoursome mixture, before serving add salt and pepper and all purpose seasoning to taste.
(If you don’t have all purpose seasoning, Cayenne Pepper is a good substitute, It is also good for your head as well as being perfect if you are a person that who likes spice and wants to make an extra fiery soup.)
And there you have it: Jamaican Turkey soup. The ingredients can be brought on a shoestring and you can make larger quantities if you like which you can freeze and then eat for meals at a later date when you might not feel up to cooking. This soup is healthy for your body and for your mind and it debunks the myth that healthy food isn’t tasty,
Cooking gives me confidence and structure in my daily life and is a good distraction from other negative aspects of my life due to health issues, “Food and mood” is a real thing and I do genuinely believe that a good diet can completely change a mindset, so why not give it a go? If you make this soup I hope you enjoy eating it as much as I do.