Whether you’re a home cook or an Austin culinary arts student, you probably need to keep plenty of butter on hand. That tasty dairy product is essential for adding flavor to steamed vegetables, keeping eggs from sticking to a skillet, stirring up a rich sauce and countless other applications. However, your trusty stick of unsalted butter is not quite up to the task of working with high heat with its low smoke point of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s prone to going rancid.
That’s why you should clarify butter, subtracting the water and milk proteins from its composition and leaving behind nearly pure butterfat. Clarified butter has a 450-degree smoke point, and it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for six months or more, which means it’s there when you need it. Once you learn the steps to clarify butter, you can use this versatile cooking fat in a wide range of delicious recipes.
Preparing clarified butter
“Clarified butter stays fresh in the refrigerator for six months or more.”
Serious Eats provided a simple method for clarifying butter. First, cut a pound of regular, unsalted butter into cubes and place them in a saucepan. Melt over medium-high heat.
Keep cooking as the butter starts to boil and you see milk proteins coming to the surface, creating a thin layer. Those proteins will then become foamy. Drop the heat to medium, but keep the butter lightly boiling as the proteins break apart and sink into the bottom of the pot.
When the boiling stops, strain the butter through cheesecloth and into a heatproof container, removing the browned solids. Allow to cool before pouring into a sealed container and storing in the refrigerator.
Roasting a juicy turkey
One way you can put your supply of clarified butter to good use is preparing a holiday turkey that’s perfectly browned and full of flavor, as in Food & Wine’s recipe. After removing the neck, tail and giblets, rinse off the bird and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the clarified butter all over the turkey’s surface, throwing on some salt to achieve a crispier skin.
Set the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan with the breast down. Place in an oven set to 325 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. Flip the poultry and keep roasting, basting and rotating the pan every half hour.
After another two hours, or when the internal temperature in the thick area of the thigh reaches 175 degrees, move the turkey onto a carving board. Tent the poultry with foil and let it rest while you use the pan drippings to make a gravy.
Making a magnificent mushroom risotto
Another classic way to use your clarified butter is in a mushroom risotto. The directions from Fine Dining Lovers advise taking advantage of the cooking fat’s attributes by speedily frying an assortment of forest mushrooms.
Start by warming olive oil and sauteing onions. When they’re soft, add cep powder, a bay leaf and a pressed clove of garlic. Cook rice in the mixture until it appears transparent, and then pour in a dry white wine.
When the wine evaporates, add hot vegetable stock, plus salt and pepper. Cook at low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more stock as it’s absorbed into the rice.
Fry the mushrooms in the clarified butter and season them with salt and pepper. Stir into the risotto with chopped parsley. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese and serve.
Students working toward a culinary arts certificate online will find numerous uses for clarified butter. Make a batch today and have it ready for your next recipe.