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Few gourmet chefs are without a substantial selection of flavored butters waiting for them in their freezer. Flavored or compound butters are easy and fun to make, and they turn a basic meal like steamed green beans, a baked potato and a grilled pork chop into a dining experience that won’t easily be forgotten.
By incorporating ingredients like roasted garlic, fresh basil leaves, lemon zest or strawberry jelly into a stick of softened butter, you create an intensely flavored butter that will add character, color and powerful flavor to simply prepared meats and vegetables. You can also spread compound butters on breads, rolls, pancakes, muffins or waffles for an instant flavor boost.
A no-recipe recipe
Start off by softening one stick of salted or unsalted butter. Stir in about 1/4 cup of additional ingredients. The more intense the flavor of your compound butter, the less butter you will need to use on your foods. One small pat of flavored butter can add unbelievable zest and oomph to even the most ordinary and bland foods.
Tailor to your taste buds
You can find specific recipes for flavored butters, but most home chefs enjoy experimenting with ingredients to create the perfect blend of butter and flavors that pleases their palates and suits their cooking needs.
By hand or machine
Purists insist you blend compound butters by hand. They suggest you place all your ingredients into a shallow bowl and use a wooden spoon to gently blend the mixture. Busy home chefs find that using a food processor works just as well without the added elbow grease.
Wrap, bag and store
Once your flavored butter is mixed into a smooth creamy consistency, you have two choices on what to do next. You can create balls of flavored butter by using a melon baller kitchen tool. You can also create logs of compound butter by rolling the butter mixture into cylinders and wrapping them in parchment paper.
Chill the logs, then slice them into small rounds. You can keep your butter balls or butter pats in the refrigerator for a week or more, or you can freeze them and they’ll last for months.
Top three butter combos
1. Beurre Maitre d'Hotel - A French classic
Mix butter with handful of parsley, a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, salt and ground black pepper.
2. Roasted garlic and parsley
Roast a head of garlic. Squeeze out six or more cloves of soft, caramelized, roasted garlic into your food processor. Add 1/4 cup of parsley and one stick of butter. Pulse until combined.
3. Lemon pepper butter
Mix one stick of butter with a teaspoon of cracked black pepper, a teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest and a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
Mix and match ingredients
Use your creativity and personal preferences to make your own signature compound butters, or try some of these delicious blends:
Note: For best results, margarine cannot be substituted in these recipes.
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