14 November 2023

Browning butter

A suggestion for improving the mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving dinner:
"As butter heats in a saucepan, its water content begins to evaporate, resulting in a vigorous boil. After about five or so minutes of bubbling, a hush falls. The liquid becomes more viscous, and the bubbles turn to foam. The milk solids underneath start to caramelize and turn chestnut brown. Be mindful, for butter can go from brown to burned very quickly. As soon as brown flecks rise to the surface, remove it from the heat and stir well, taking care to scrape the “fond” — the bits stuck on the bottom of the pan."
Suggestion and image from The New York Times.


  1. And if you don't scrape up the fond, but just pour off the liquid, you've got ghee.

  2. If you panfry your meat in butter instead of oil, you get such a gravy for free every time. Especially beef (steak, meatballs) and pork give very good gravies. Chicken is too tasteless to get anywhere, unless you marinate or spice the hell out of it (try paprika on your chicken).

    If you don't have enough liquid after your meat is done, get the pan hot and add a little milk (or water if you're very lactose intolerant) so get all the bits stuck off the bottom.

    That's how you make good gravy!

    Now, have some mashed potatoes on the side, and you can pour the gravy straight in instead of adding butter or milk.

    I've never understood why anyone would make brown goo from a package.

    1. Chicken breast can be bland (the cheap stuff certainly) but chicken thighs or legs are delicious. Try to buy them from the farm shop or butcher rather than the supermarket. Flavour is down to the fat content, mostly.
      And what Anonymous above said is true. You can turn cheap butter into ghee pretty easily, at which point you'll want to cook everything in ghee.


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