Compound Butter

Compound butter is butter infused with herbs, spices or other supplementary ingredients used to enhance flavor in various dishes or sauces. 

I was first introduced to compound butter when seeing a Youtube video where compound butter was made as a topping, placed over sous vide prepared steaks. Some of the compound butter from that video was a bit extreme though, such as blending whole fast-food chain cheeseburgers with butter. While the vloggers were all about that, I decided to start with more traditional ingredients. 

I had been cooking sous vide steaks as well as smoking meats quite often, so it made sense to try out some compound butter myself. I also make various curries from time to time, so for my first compound butter, I decided to create one which was curry inspired. I left the butter out until it reached room temperature, then in a large bowl, I mixed it with equal amounts of turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, garlic powder, paprika, and freshly chopped cilantro. I then formed the compounded butter into three separate logs which I wrapped in parchment paper and refrigerated for later use. 

I made three different dishes with this first batch of compound butter. First was a chicken curry I made with the compound butter as a base. I heated the compound butter in a large skillet. I then added red, green, and yellow peppers and red onions. I cooked them until caramelized, then I added cubed chicken, chicken broth, heavy cream, and Julienned parsnips.  I severed the curry over rice, and it turned out really good! The second log of compound butter was melted over grilled vegetables as a side dish to a roast I was smoking. Again, this was an excellent use for the compound butter. With the third log, I slow-baked some chicken. I first covered it in the oven at 225 degrees. Once the chicken reached 160 degrees, I pulled it out, uncovered it, and set in the oven to broil. I broiled the chicken for another ten minutes, covered it in the compound butter, let it rest, and served. 

My second batch of compound butter was comprised of just four ingredients: butter, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary. I used this compound butter to put over a roast I had smoked and over grilled steaks. I brought my roast and steaks to an internal temperature of 130 degrees. I then placed the meat on a wire rack, put a slice of the compound butter on top, and then let the meat rest.  

Other common blends include:

  • Lemon, parsley, salt, and pepper
  • Avocado, garlic/wild garlic, and cilantro
  • Rosemary, paprika, and salt
  • Blue cheese, soy sauce, dijon, and garlic
  • Strawberry, honey, and vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest, lemon juice, and thyme

The combinations are limitless!

Making compound butter is a great way to prepare for any future meal, whether it's to enhance the flavor of a perfectly cooked steak, to create a tasty sauce, spread over bread, perhaps for baking, or to create a dessert. The possibilities are endless. I look forward to trying other combinations, and hopefully, you will too.  

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