Dec 28, 2020

Compound Butters

by Scott VanZalinge, Lord of Logistics

 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, 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.