Monday, November 20, 2006

Turkey Gravy Revisited: Why I'm Thankful for Penzeys and Better Than Bouillon

For the month of November I've been sharing Thanksgiving Recipes that are a bit more South Beach Diet friendly than some more traditional choices. Today I'm talking a bit about gravy, something that's difficult to make South Beach Diet friendly, but which I consider a must for Thanksgiving. I could skip the potatoes, and I'd have 100% whole wheat stuffing, but I'd have to have a little gravy on the stuffing or it wouldn't be Thanksgiving. Maybe I'm rationalizing, but I think it's this flexible approach to dieting that has helped me stick with the South Beach way of eating for more than two years.

Last Thanksgiving I posted about the difficulties inexperienced cooks might have with making Thanksgiving dinner, and especially with making the turkey gravy. I shared one of my own tips for making flavorful turkey gravy. There were also a couple of great cooks who weighed in on making turkey gravy in the comments, so be sure to read those too. I'm still convinced that it's very difficult to make great turkey gravy without adding a small amount of some kind of soup base or flavor enhancer to the turkey drippings. I truly hope I won't have my food blogger credentials revoked for making an admission of this magnitude!

Last year I recommended Better Than Bouillon Turkey Base, which I still think is very good. However, this year I'm picking Penzeys Turkey Soup Base as my number one choice. Just for the record, Penzeys has never sent me any free products, paid me commissions, or even acknowledged my humble little blog in any way.  I've actually been ordering Penzeys spices and seasonings longer than blogs have been in existence, so even if Penzeys continues to ignore my hints about becoming their official blogger, I'm sure I'll still continue my long-term relationship with their spices.

Both these products are good flavor-enhancers when added to the juices in your roasting pan to make turkey gravy, and the differences in the two products are subtle. I think the Penzeys Turkey Base tastes a tiny bit more like turkey and less like spices. The Better Than Bouillon Turkey Base is a tiny bit pepperey, so use it sparingly. It may be too late to order Penzeys if you don't live near their stores, but I can find Better Than Bouillon in stores here. Both products are available online by following the links above if you don't live in the U.S.

Even if it's too late to get Penzeys for your turkey gravy, you can probably get some in time to use it for Turkey Soup if you order it today. Using the Penzeys Soup Base doesn't replace making homemade turkey stock from the turkey carcass, something I love to do, but it does intensify the turkey flavor a bit.

I'm cooking a turkey before Thanksgiving so I can experiment with some great recipes for turkey leftovers I've been collecting! Tomorrow I'll be sharing some of the best turkey soup recipes I've seen on other blogs in a special edition of South Beach Recipes of the Week, so check back for that if you're not too busy preparing for Thanksgiving! Also, don't forget I'm giving away The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook so click over to my stuffing recipe and leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win the book.counter customizable free hit


Lydia said...

I'm a huge fan of Penzeys, too, as readers of my blog know. But I've never tried the soup bases, because I assumed they would be too salty. After reading your post, I'll reconsider.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kalyn said...

Lydia, the Penzeys Turkey Soup Base does have salt, 630 mg. per 3/4 tsp. When I made gravy, I use about a tsp. or so for more than a quart of gravy, so I don't think it's adding a lot of salt. I just use enough to enhance the natural turkey flavor, and I think it adds a lot to the gravy.

Tanna said...

I keep seeing Penzeys so I guess I'm going to have to look for it in some speciality stores or get on their internet site. I think I'll be saying you were the deciding vote.

Kalyn said...

Tanna, Penzeys is awesome. They have wonderful ingredients like ground chipotle chile powder, cracked rosemary, and smoked paprika. I could write about their products every day and never run out of things to say! Go to the website and order a catalog.
I do have to say, they need their own official food blogger. No offense to Penzeys, but the recipes in their catalog and magazine seem a bit underwhelming to me.

sher said...

Love Penzeys!!!! I also have never tried the soup base, but I've wondered about it. Thanks for the info. I'm going to order it, not for Thanksgiving--I'm not cooking dinner this year, a friend is. But, I want that on hand!

tony said...

HI kalyn,

Long since you have tagged huh!!! Here is one-
BTW, How are you doing?
I know you hate HTML tags in ur Comemnts so I removed the href tags :)

wheresmymind said...

I've just never gotten into gravy...just always looked ick to me...but I'm gonna try some this thanksgiving

Anonymous said...

I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
And you et an account on Twitter?

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, will you write to me at my e-mail address about this (listed under "how to contact kalyn" in the sidebar.

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