Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Butter Compounds for Grilled Meats & More.

Shopping for Ingredients
My blog assistant was busy this week getting supplies so we could play with our compound butter recipes.  I had trouble keeping up with her in the store.  But she keeps me young (and tired).

What are "Compound Butters" and how do you use them?  That might be the first question many of you reading the blog today.  Not everyone is familiar with compound butters.  So let's start the discussion on what it is and how to use them.

"Compound Butters" are mixtures of butter and supplementary ingredients.  Primarily, they are used to enhance flavor in various dishes, in a fashion similar to a sauce.  These butters can be melted on top of meats and vegetables, used as a spread or used to finish various sauces.  This is some of what Wikipedia had to say on the subject.

Alright, so what does that mean?  It means that compound butters are very tasty and help create an enhanced satisfaction to a dish.  On top of that, they are easy to make and use.

There are two types of compound butters.  You can make "Sweet" or "Savory" butters.

The sweet butters will have additional ingredients such as honey, maple syrup and cinnamon to name a few.  These are great on pancakes, waffles, muffins, biscuits or toast.  When making these compound butters remember to start with 1 to1 ratios with ingredients like honey.  Something like cinnamon, you want to start with a teaspoon to a half cup of butter.  Then make adjustments based on your own flavor profile.

Savory butters give you many more options than the sweet ones.  Just about any fresh or dry herb can work as well as juices such as lemon and lime.  Depending on the ingredients used, these butters really can enhance a meat or vegetable dish.

To make compound butters, one can mix by hand, use a food processor or even a electric hand or table mixer.  Which way is best depends somewhat on the amount being made.  I prefer the food processor for most.  My reason for this is you don't have to process the ingredients as much because the food processor will do it for you.  So rough chop in good enough for it.

If you are mixing by hand or using an electric mixer, the ingredients need to be prep to the size desired for the outcome.  Sometimes the ingredients are already at the finished size.  When I make a compound butter for baked potatoes, I use the electric mixer because the additional ingredients are already processed.  Here I add bacon bits, shredded cheese, sour cream and a few seasonings to the butter.  The electric mixer not only mixes the compound butter together but adds volume because it adds air to the butter mixture.  This is similar to what happens with ice cream.  It makes for a lighter fluffier product.

To make a compound butter, follow one of the processes mentioned above and then place about a half cup of mixture on plastic wrap to make into a log.  You will want to refrigerate or freeze to hard up the butter.  Then just slice pieces to place on top of a steak or mashed potatoes for example.  Wrap tightly, label with type of butter and date processed if freezing for later use.  They should keep for 1 to 2 months in the freezer.

I have two recipes this week for you to try.  But it is easy enough to make up your own.  Give one of these a try or be creative and come up with your own signature compound butter.  Tomorrow's recipe is "Herbed Steak Butter" and then "Cilantro-Lime Butter" on Thursday.  I hope you enjoy and "Happy Cooking" until next week.

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