How To Booze Up Your Compound Butter With Red Wine

For its sheer versatility alone, compound butter should be a staple in every kitchen. There's nothing better than adorning your meat, fish, and vegetables with a pat of butter that's complete with all the seasonings you could possibly need. Go a step further by incorporating an integral part of dinner in the fat — just add a splash of red wine for boozy compound butter.

Deepening everything from sauces, soups, and braises, one could easily use up a bottle of wine without taking a single sip. If you're looking to use up leftover wine, add a splash of it to compound butter to pull out whenever you need. Just like with other dishes, red wine brings its classic full-bodied flair to butter, elevating it without diminishing the butter's richness.

You can follow the simple method for making compound butter when adding wine but just reduce the vino first. To do this, boil the red wine in a saucepan for a few minutes until it's thickened. Then place chopped butter and your choice of herbs in a food processor and blend, pouring in the red wine reduction once the other ingredients have been properly mixed, and blend again. Scoop the butter out, place it in plastic wrap, and roll it into a log. While you may want to share this luxurious butter, a few minutes on the stove isn't enough to cook off the alcohol completely, so it's best not to give it to any little ones or sober folks.

Enhance red wine compound butter with aromatics

Red wine has many different flavor profiles, depending on the variety. It can be dry, delightfully tart, or offer a fuller sweetness, with fruity or earthy notes. Pick your favorite kind and on its own, its taste is enough to flavor compound butter. Yet, with a bit more understanding of the best red wines for cooking, you can play up the flavors of each kind when making compound butter. If you mainly use compound butter for vegetables, for example, Chianti's lighter taste is the perfect pair. Add in a few sprigs of thyme and some basil and you're golden.

For a classic steak dinner, the beef works best with a richer style of wine. Bordeaux is an earthy, vivid wine, punctuated with notes of ripe fruit like plums and blackcurrants. The depth is perfect for steak and can be balanced with rosemary and tarragon. A pat of this compound butter will elevate cooked steak, but why not spread it onto a side of garlic herb skillet potatoes, as well?

Fish is often cooked with white wine, but if you're looking for a little more depth without completely overwhelming it, pinot noir is the right choice to mix into your butter. It's light and fruity but a good one will also be enriched with notes of mushroom and vanilla. Keep things simple with some dill, sage, and mint, and use it to cook milder fish like cod or tilapia.