Saturday, November 07, 2009

Kalyn's Kitchen Picks: Penzey's Turkey Soup Base (Get it Now for Thanksgiving Gravy!)

Penzey's Turkey Soup Base for Thanksgiving GravyPenzey's Turkey Soup Base(Updated, November 2009) This post is a yearly public-service announcement for those of you in the U.S. who might be 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, and again this year I'm giving you a reminder so you can order Turkey Soup Base from Penzeys in time for Thanksgiving. If you look carefully, you can see my Penzeys turkey base is mostly gone, and last night I ordered two jars!

Don't confuse this soup base with those horrid packets of turkey gravy mix! The first ingredient in this product is cooked turkey meat. For anyone who's even the slightest bit gravy-challenged, this turkey base will help you make the best turkey gravy you've ever made. You can count on it, your guests will rave about the gravy. (And since I know somebody must be wondering, Penzeys is not paying me to rave about their turkey base, nor have they ever given me any free spices.) Keep reading for more thoughts on gravy, and if anyone has a great tip for turkey gravy, please let us know in the comments.

Gravy on the South Beach Diet:
Since gravy is usually thickened with white flour or cornstarch, it's a very limited food for South Beach Dieters. I've experimented with whole wheat flour for gravy, but never had very good results. However, recently I've been 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 Around the Web:
My Turkey Gravy Recommendation from 2005 (still pretty good if you can't get Penzeys.)
Turkey Gravy Revisited (my recommendation for Penzeys from 2006)
South Beach Diet friendly gravy made with arrowroot starch from 2008.
Mastering Turkey Gravy from Slashfood (with link to Cook's Illustrated tips for Turkey Gravy)
How to Make Gravy from Simply Recipes
Rich Turkey Gravy from
Gluten-Free Gravy from Gluten-Free Girl
Making Perfect Turkey Gravy from What's Cooking America
Savory Turkey Gravy from All Recipes
Turkey Gravy Tips from Hormel Foods

Here are more things I've chosen for Kalyn's Kitchen Picks.
Here are lots more Thanksgiving Recipes from Kalyn.
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Lydia said...

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.

Kalyn said...

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.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

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.

meeso said...

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

Rachael said...

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

Thanks so much for the heads up!

Kelly Mahoney said...

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

Deborah Dowd said...

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

Deborah said...

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...

Kalyn said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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!

Kalyn said...

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

Kearby said...

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.

Lea Ann said...

Thanks for the recommendation.

Roberta in Toledo said...

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.

Ruth said...

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.

CJ said...

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.

Kalyn said...

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!

CJ said...

Sorry about the typos.

Kalyn said...

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.

Daisy said...

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

Kalyn said...

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

beej said...

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

Kalyn said...

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

Jenna said...

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.

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