Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kalyn's Kitchen Picks: Penzey's Turkey Soup Base (Plus Lower-Carb Gravy Tips and Ideas for Turkey Leftovers)

I think Penzeys Turkey Soup Base is a *must* for Thanksgiving gravy!

(Updated, November 2014)  I'm interrupting the Carb-Conscious Thanksgiving Recipes with this important Turkey Gravy Public Service Announcement for anyone in the U.S. who's cooking Thanksgiving dinner, or planning to make turkey stock or turkey soup after the holiday. I've shared how much I love Penzeys Turkey Base every year since 2005, and again this year I'm giving you a reminder so you can order Turkey Soup Base from Penzeys in time for Thanksgiving. 

And this year I think I can safely say that Penzeys Turkey Soup Base is now a Denny family tradition because when I was talking to my sister Pam about Thanksgiving dinner I told her I'd ordered 2 jars of it, and she told me she'd already ordered hers as well!  We both agreed that Penzeys Turkey Soup Base is a *must* for Thanksgivng gravy.

Don't confuse this soup base with those horrid packets of turkey gravy mix that come in the turkey! The first ingredient in this product is cooked turkey meat. For anyone who's even the slightest bit gravy-challenged, this will help you make the best turkey gravy you've ever made.  (And since I know some of you must be wondering, Penzeys is not paying me to rave about their turkey base, and they've never given me any free spices.  In fact I'm pretty sure they don't even know I'm alive!) Keep reading for more thoughts on turkey gravy and some recipes I've loved with turkey stock or turkey gravy.

Gravy for Carb-Conscious Eaters:
Since gravy is usually thickened with white flour or cornstarch, it's a very limited food for South Beach Dieters or anyone who's limiting carbs.  This Penzey's Turkey Soup Base does contain starch, and it has 1 carb in 3/4 teaspoon.  Personally I consider gravy part of the once-a-year splurge and eat it in small amounts, but if you want to make lower-carb turkey gravy, here are a few options:

-- If you don't mind a thin gravy, you can make good-tasting gravy just by adding little bit of Penzeys Turkey Soup Base the pan juices from the roasted turkey and then simmering on low until it's reduced and slightly thickened. 

--I've had good luck with lower-carb gravy made with arrowroot starch, which thickens like cornstarch but with a much smaller amount.  However, the arrowroot starch gives the food a shiny look, which some people might not like for gravy.  There are also some tricks to using it successfully, so follow instructions.

--I've experimented with whole wheat flour for gravy, but never had good results. However, recently I tried making gravy with white whole wheat flour which I thought worked very well. I don't like overly thick gravy, so I use about one tablespoon of flour per cup of liquid, which isn't much flour. If you're limiting white flour you might want to give this a try.

Tips for Making Turkey Gravy from Bloggers Around the Web:
(Personally I'd add a little Penzeys Turkey Soup Base to any of these gravy recipes!)
How to Make Gravy from Simply Recipes
How to Make Turkey Gravy (Recipe and Troubleshooting) from Cookin' Canuck
Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy from Noble Pig
Gluten-Free and Paleo Herb Gravy from Elana's Pantry (use turkey stock for turkey gravy)
Easy Paleo Gravy from Cook Eat Paleo

Some Favorite Recipes I've made with Turkey Gravy or Turkey Stock:
(I've shared a lot of ideas for Leftover Turkey (or chicken), but here are some of my favorites that use turkey gravy or turkey stock.  If you want the lowest-carb use for turkey leftovers, try one of these Turkey or Chicken Salads.)

(use Cauliflower rice for a lower-carb version)

(use Cauliflower rice instead of orzo for a lower-carb, gluten-free version)

Blogger Disclosure:
I purchased the Penzeys Turkey Soup Base myself and this company has no idea that I'm writing about their product. All items featured as Kalyn's Kitchen Picks are things I will happily buy over and over, and because I want readers to know that my opinions are completely unbiased, I don't accept review products from the many companies who offer to send them to me.  You can see the complete list of products I've chosen under the tab Kalyn's Picks below the blog header.
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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. My concern with soup bases is always the saltiness. How does this rate on the salt scale? I'd love to find soup bases that are not sodium-laden.

  2. Lydia, Penzeys soup bases taste much less salty to me than other brands. The label says 630 mg sodium in 3/4 tsp. Of course when you eat it, it's highly diluted with water, and I'm only using about 1-2 T for a big pan of gravy, so I think it's not too bad. To me, this is a product to enhance gravy flavor so I use it sparingly.

  3. Couple of things I'm looking for from Penzey's but no ordering for me. Ahh, I can walk in!! I'll check out the turkey base too.

  4. I am a huge fan of Penzeys! Oddly, I've never tried their soup bases. I should give it a try.

  5. Too bad they dont give out free stuff! :-)

    Thanks so much for the heads up!

  6. Huh, I've never used this in my years, nor has my mom.

  7. I love Penzey's. I am a turkey gravy addict, so now I will add the turkey base to my list.

  8. I love Penzeys. It was a very happy day when I discovered they have a store in my city. It wasn't quite so happy for my bank account...
    One day I need to post about the year my mom made gravy on Thanksgiving for about 20 people and it turned the brightest Halloween orange I've ever seen...

  9. Tanna, I'm jealous that you can walk into Penzeys. That would be the good life!

    Meeso, I also love the ham flavor base for bean soup.

    Rachael, free Penzeys, now that would be great! I wish they would hire me to write a blog for them.

    Kelly, buy some for your mom. She will love it.

    DeborahD, I think you will like it.

    Deborah. you must tell more about the orange gravy.

  10. I just went hopefully to the Penzey's website. Sadly, the turkey soup base contains chicken fat, as well as ingredients derived from corn. Otherwise I would be an instant fan, as I have been searching for years for a soup base like this. Looks great for those who can eat chicken and corn, but heads-up, those with allergies!

  11. Anonymous, thanks for the heads up, and sorry it didn't work out for you.

  12. Love, love, love everything from Penzey's and I'm lucky enough to live close to one of their stores. And like you, they're not paying me a cent to extoll the virtues of their products. Penzey's spices are terrific. If you're not on their catalog mailing list, you need to be. Their catalog is full of great info on their spices and interesting recipes and there's often a card on the front of the catalog good for a free spice from their store, which can be redeemed in person or via mail order.

  13. Thanks for the recommendation.

  14. I didn't realize Penzey's made "turkey" base, too. I, too, am very concerned about sodium, since I have one kidney and take two high blood pressure medications. But the sparing use of this kind of base, as opposed to nasty bullion (can't spell it properly, sorry) cubes, isn't bad.

    I use the "ham" base, for boosting the flavor of bean soups. I love the "vegetable" base for boosting the flavor in brown rice, in parboiled rice, in sauces when I'm using Dreamfield's pasta.

    I keep 'em all in my fridge, and a tsp here and there doesn't knock me off low-sodium eats too much.

  15. Around here the turkey was consumed some weeks ago (Canadian Thanksgiving is the 2nd Monday in October). When I roast a turkey I remove the neck, heart and giblets - placing them in a saucepan, adding a celery stalk, half an onion, a bit of salt and 1/2 tsp of whole peppercorns. Cover with water and simmer for several hours to create stock for use in moistening the stuffing and to make gravy. To the gravy I always add the fat-skimmed drippings from the roasting pan and a hefty sprinkle of the following savoury seasoning mix: 1 tbsp Italian seasoning, 2 tsp seasoning salt, 1 tsp dry ground mustard, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper - use this mixture to sprinkle into the cavity of the turkey and over the body of the bird - don't forget to save 2 or 3 tsp for the gravy!

    Have you ever tried arrowroot as a thickener for sauces and gravies? That's a tip I learned from Graham Kerr years ago when he hosted "Galloping Gourmet" on TV. Using arrowroot powder creates a lighter sauce or gravy and a slightly glazed look instead of a creamy one. And it doesn't change the flavour at all.

    Thanks for your blog - I really enjoy your stories, photos and recipes.

  16. My tip for gravy is make sextra turkey tock ahead of time.

    I pick up a package of thighs and wings and make a big batch of rich stock. I refrigerate it overnight, then skim the fat, strain out the solids (carrot chunks, etc.) and freeze in quart containers.

    A day before the serious cooking begin, I thaw the stock that I will use. (In a hurry,- pop it out of container and melt in a suacpan on low.)

    I use the stock in my dressing. My family likes LOTS of gravy, I mean LOTS. So I use the stock, along with pan drippings and roasting pan fond to make enough to keep the cowboys happy.

    I do like to have base on hand and Penzey's in excellent. Perhaps, even the best.

  17. Kearby, me too on the Penzeys love. I also love The Spice House (sister of Bill Penzey.) I seem to like Penzeys for some things and Spice House for others, but both a great!

    Lee Ann, you're welcome.

    Roberta, that's my view of it too. It really doesn't take much of the Penzeys soup base to make a huge difference in a recipe.

    Ruth, thanks for sharing. Yes, I have used arrowroot. There's a link in the post to a gravy recipe using arrowroot.

    CJ, I always try to have turkey stock in the freezer for gravy too, but sometimes it just doesn't work out!

  18. CJ, no worries! I think the internet has ruined spelling for everyone. Nearly every time I go back to one of my older posts I find a typo.

  19. We have a Penzey's store in town. I'll stop by and check them out!

  20. Daisy, now I'm jealous. I wish we had Penzeys here!

  21. Man, I love Penzeys, too! My mom really loved getting their catalog.

  22. Beej, the catalog is still a treat when it comes in the mail, even though I mostly order online now!

  23. hi Kalyn - just arrived via bing "turkey leftovers", by way of the turkey sweet potato soup. anyway...
    for thickening the gravy, you can puree some of the vegetables into the gravy and avoid the whole "which processed starch should I use?" issue. The texture is not cling-y like starch-thickened gravy (personally, I think that's a good thing) and the flavor is deeper and more vegetable-y.
    The efficiency of your blender or food processor will determine whether the final texture is creamy or "rustic". (My favorite cooking euphemism. XP)
    hope this helps. Enjoy the rest of the holidays and best wishes for the new year.

  24. Since you first posted about this product, I've become a real fan. I use it in very small amounts to boost the flavor of my turkey gravy, and my family remarks every year how great the gravy tastes.

    1. Lydia, it really doesn't take a big amount of this to make a huge difference in the flavor of your gravy. Love it so much!

  25. Have you used the Seafood Stock? How would you rate that?

    1. I had to Google it; I've never seen that brand here.


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