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Culinary Essentials:  Compound Butters

A dollop of compound butter spread over chicken, pork, steak and even mixed into vegetables melts quickly into a glossy and elegant sauce that will elevate any run-of-the-mill weeknight meal.  I’ve added suggestions for where to use them, but don’t be afraid to explore your own uses!

Basic method for making a compound butter:

  1. Use room temperature, unsalted butter.
  2. For cooked ingredients, be sure they are fully cooled before mixing into butter.
  3. Start with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper, add more to your liking
  4. Use a regular kitchen fork to combine ingredients in a small mixing bowl until evenly incorporated into the butter.
  5. Store the butter in a small glass container for up to a week. You can also roll the butter into a log using a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap.  Store wrapped logs in the refrigerator for up to a week, or up to six months in the freezer, inside of a zip top bag.

Roasted Garlic Lemon

Good with chicken, pork, steak and vegetables

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1 TBSP roasted garlic paste (recipe below)

1 head garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Zest of one large lemon

1 tsp chives, finely chopped

½ tsp smoked salt, or kosher salt

¼ tsp cracked black pepper

  1. Roast garlic to make a paste; with the heel of your hand, press down on the top of a head of garlic to break the individual cloves apart. Place cloves, with skins on, in a shallow baking dish, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden and soft.  Let cool slightly before squeezing the softened garlic out of the skins into a bowl.  Mash with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Mix ingredients in a small mixing bowl with a fork until evenly incorporated into the butter.
  3. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

chicken roasted garlic lemon butter

Porcini Mushrooms with Sherry

Good with pork, steak and vegetables

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup dry Sherry (do NOT use “cooking sherry”)

½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp cracked black pepper

  1. Soak dried porcini mushrooms in Sherry for an hour to soften.
  2. Drain reconstituted porcinis, reserving liquid for another use (like risotto!)
  3. Finely chop porcinis
  4. Mix ingredients in a small mixing bowl with a fork until evenly incorporated into the butter.
  5. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Red Wine Shallot

Good with steak, pork and vegetables

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

3 TBSP shallot, finely diced

¼ cup red wine

1 TBSP chives, finely chopped

½ tsp salt

¼ cracked black pepper

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the shallots and wine over medium-low heat.
  2. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Remove shallots from the heat, set aside to cool.
  4. Mix ingredients in a small mixing bowl with a fork until evenly incorporated into the butter.
  5. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cranberry Orange

Good with all poultry, pork and fall vegetables.  Think Thanksgiving!

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

2 TBSP dried cranberries, finely chopped

2 TBSP Grand Marnier, or other orange-flavored liqueur

¼ water

Zest of one orange

1 tsp pure maple syrup

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp cracked black pepper

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, Grand Marnier, zest and water over medium-low heat.
  2. Cook for 6 – 8 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Remove cranberry mixture from the heat, set aside to cool.
  4. Mix ingredients in a small mixing bowl with a fork until evenly incorporated into the butter.
  5. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

chicken cranberry butter

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