How to Make a Tasty Low-Salt Chicken or Turkey Broth

9 Jan

Homemade Turkey Broth

As promised, I’ll share my secrets to making a soup base from chicken or turkey, that is both low salt and also deliciously rich and eye-pleasing. Well, there aren’t really that many secrets to it, but a few extra “ingredients” can go a long way in stocking your freezer with plenty of tasty soup stock in the months ahead.

When my husband was told quite a few years ago he had to take high-blood pressure medicine and go on a low-salt diet, I knew it was time to get serious about not using pre-processed canned or packaged items, including any form of chicken bullion. That went right out of the cupboard. Many years before that, though, I did make homemade chicken broth, but on a very irregular basis, and half the time I would forget about those containers in the freezer until they were so ice-crystal laden and freezer burnt that the thought of using them made me cringe.

I have always loved reading cookbooks, almost as a hobby in itself. One year after college, I received — probably from my mother — a boxed set of cookbooks by Jeff Smith, also known as The Frugal Gourmet. I think he came up in the news in years past about some unsavory behavior, but I didn’t follow it that close, and refuse to taint the image of his delightful shows on TV and the wonderful hours of reading his stories accompanying the recipes. But I do remember two great tips from his books.

You know those pesky onions skins that wreak havoc with your garbage disposal? Why throw them out? If you add those onion skins to the pot, they help develop a beautiful yellow base to your broth. That doesn’t look low-salt at all, does it now? Just wash the onion before chopping it, and don’t bother peeling the skin. Throw it into the water! Regarding celery, don’t chop off those leaves on the end either. The celery leaves have just as much flavor (or more) as the stalk. Toss them right in, too. Those two hints really led me to the start of my journey of making some great homemade broth.

My next tip regards garlic. Freshly pressed garlic has a wonderful aroma and taste, but the jars of pre-minced garlic in oil have a place of their own. The juice from the oil is packed with flavor that heightens the otherwise blandness of a low-to-no-sodium broth. When making the broth, in addition to adding the minced garlic (which will get strained off in the end), add some of the juice from the jar. This will add a depthness of flavor to your broth that no salt could replace.

My last tip is Mrs. Dash. There are some wonderful flavors available now of these no-salt herb substitutes, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed with this in your cooking. This brand even has a Southwest Chipotle flavor! We use many of them liberally in our cooking now.

I’ll be completely vague with the amounts, because you can use this recipe whether you are using an entire chicken or turkey carcass, or just poaching a couple of chicken breasts for an enchilada recipe. Just learn to eyeball the amounts you think you will need depending on how much you are making. Half the fun of cooking is experimenting. OK, on to the recipe.

Low-Salt Chicken (or Turkey) Broth

Chicken or Turkey bones, with or without meat on them
Yellow onion, with skins
Carrots (no don’t peel them, just wash them)
Celery, with the leaves
Minced garlic from a jar, plus some of the oil
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
Fresh or dried parsley
Salt (if any) and pepper

In a pot large enough to handle the meat and/or bones, cover with water to a half inch to an inch over them. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer about 40 minutes, skimming the top of the pot of any froth and fat that may rise to the surface. When done, drain the broth through a colander or sieve. Don’t forget to put another pot or receptacle under it during this process. I’ll never forget the time I put the colander in the sink without that, and poured my entire efforts down the drain, lol. You can imagine my shock and dismay when I realized what I had just done. For that reason, I do still keep a couple of cans of low-sodium canned chicken broth in the cupboard.

As a side note, I let the vegetables cool and bag them up in the fridge and add them to my dog’s food as extra yummies the next day or so. Double mileage!

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19 Responses to “How to Make a Tasty Low-Salt Chicken or Turkey Broth”

  1. Trish January 9, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    I love your stories Kathryn! The recipies are great too!

    Like

    • anotherfoodieblogger January 9, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      Thanks Trish!

      Like

    • Susan Shepler Blum January 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

      Kathryn, I can’t wait to try your broth recipe. I’ve always been miserable at making a tasty broth. You mentioned at the end of your recipe that you bag up the veggies for some yummies for your dog the next day. All of those veggies are great for your dog, EXCEPT the onion. Onion is poisonous to dogs. Everything else is great as far as I know. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. You may want to check up on that.

      I love your blog and writing and humor. I have liked you since the first of my M/M days!!!!!! 😉

      Sue 😉

      Like

      • anotherfoodieblogger January 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

        Susan, I do omit the onions in the her bag, I should have mentioned that! Thank you Susan. You are so sweet. 🙂

        Like

  2. anotherfoodieblogger August 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Reblogged this on anotherfoodieblogger and commented:

    Time for another reblog to tide you over until we move and settle in! I wanted to share some additional information for this recipe. I now try to simmer the broth at least 2 to 4 hours, as you get a really nice golden broth that way. I add a little additional water through the process if needed. Also, I’ve started using fresh garlic. Just smash the garlic with the flat side of the knife so that the skins will peel off in the cooking process. Last thing is to strain the broth through a cheese cloth after getting all the veggies out. This makes a nice, clear, golden broth without all the cloudiness from the spices and herbs. 🙂

    Note: Do NOT feed your doggie any of the cooked onion or garlic if you save the veggies for treat, only the celery. Onion and garlic can make your dog sick.

    Like

  3. Juliette Kings August 21, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    There is so much salt in EVERYTHING. This is great. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to share on Facebook and WordPress.

    Like

    • anotherfoodieblogger August 21, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

      Thank you so much Juliette! I do try to keep up with your blog when I can. You are such a fantastic writer!

      Like

  4. Juliette Kings August 21, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    Reblogged this on West Coast Review and commented:
    This one is from my favorite food blogger. There is SO MUCH SALT in everything. Make your own. Make it fresh. Make it healthful. Make it GOOD.

    This post gets a 5 out of 5 stars from West Coast Review.

    Like

  5. anotherfoodieblogger August 21, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    WOW! Thank you so much Juliette for the share! And 5 out of 5? Awesome. Yes, there is way too much salt in canned or boxed chicken or turkey broths. I’ll be reblogging how to do homemade beef broth too, with another funny story on my first FAIL attempt on that one! 🙂

    Like

    • anotherfoodieblogger August 21, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

      Oh and just for the record, since your reblog doesn’t post my new intro to this, here it is:

      Time for another reblog to tide you over until we move and settle in! I wanted to share some additional information for this recipe. I now try to simmer the broth at least 2 to 4 hours, as you get a really nice golden broth that way. I add a little additional water through the process if needed. Also, I’ve started using fresh garlic. Just smash the garlic with the flat side of the knife so that the skins will peel off in the cooking process. Last thing is to strain the broth through a cheese cloth after getting all the veggies out. This makes a nice, clear, golden broth without all the cloudiness from the spices and herbs. 🙂

      Note: Do NOT feed your doggie any of the cooked onion or garlic if you save the veggies for treat, only the celery and carrots. Onion and garlic can make your dog sick.

      Like

  6. Conor Bofin August 24, 2014 at 5:00 am #

    Excellent. We make chicken stock every time we cook a chicken. Wonderful if one has it.

    Like

    • anotherfoodieblogger August 24, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

      Yes, I try to keep at least a quart or many more on hand at any time. Thank you Conor for the comment!

      Like

  7. Stacy September 5, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    I loved watching the Frugal Gourmet as well, Kathryn! And I read cookbooks like novels. I read somewhere that you can save all the scraps, like the ends off of zucchini or the potato and carrot peels, in a bag in the freezer for adding to the stockpot. So I try to do that when freezer space allows. Homemade stock is always so much richer than store-bought if you have the time to let it simmer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • anotherfoodieblogger September 6, 2014 at 7:50 am #

      Oh I agree so much with you! Store-bought doesn’t seem to cut it after making your own. Thank you again for your nice comments. 🙂

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Chicken Enchiladas from Scratch (Mostly) « anotherfoodieblogger - January 13, 2012

    […] I wracked my brain to see if I could think of an anecdote to go with today’s dish, and was close to pointing out that I’d never had any kitchen mishaps or adventures while making this meal, but then I remembered when I made this one time I had poured the chicken broth down the drain by accident! I pointed this out in my Homemade Turkey Broth column. […]

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    […] Homemade Turkey/Chicken Broth […]

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  4. Rainy Days and Homemade Turkey/Chicken Stock | anotherfoodieblogger - September 29, 2013

    […] I used, I will refer you back to my post from over a year ago where I detailed out the steps: How to Make a Tasty Low-Salt Chicken or Turkey Broth. In this referred recipe, I simmered the broth for about 40 minutes, but this time I simmered it […]

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  5. Turkey, Ham, Sausage, and Shrimp Gumbo | anotherfoodieblogger - December 1, 2013

    […] this, hubby and I teamed together to make a huge pot of turkey broth from the carcass, recipe here: How to Make Homemade Turkey Broth. You can never have too much turkey or chicken stock on hand. You can substitute low-sodium […]

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