Make A Smoky, Rich Butter With Steak Bones

Steak has always been my favourite protein, and I tend to favour cuts of the bone-in variety. But once the meat has been consumed and the martini has been polished off, it always seems kind of sad to toss the bone, which is too small to make an appreciable amount of broth.

Photos by Claire Lower.

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Whenever I have the chance to buy prawns shell-on - or, better yet, head-on - I take it. Deveining and then cooking prawns in their shells is the tastiest way to go, and there's something very satisfactory about peeling them just before popping them into your mouth. But their journey shouldn't end there; the shells still have more to give.

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I mean, you could save up a whole bunch of steak bones to eventually make a broth - or you could throw one into your usual chicken stock - but, as long as you haven't gnawed on it, you can use the lonely bone to infuse meaty, smoky flavour into butter.

Before

In addition to the bone, you can also use the pan drippings to flavour your favourite dairy spread. Just pour off and reserve the cooking grease - which, in my case, is usually duck fat - and deglaze the pan with a bit of wine. (Either red or white will work, but red will greatly affect the colour or your butter, obviously.)

After

Scrape the pan with a wooden spoon, and pour it all into a bowl. Next, you have to decide how you're going to extract all that meaty flavour. You can use a simple pot on the stove, a slow cooker, or - my favourite - you could sous vide it.

Whatever method you're using, simply combine the pan drippings and tasty deglazed bits, the bone, and 113g butter in your cooking vessel of choice. If you're using a sous vide bag, go ahead and seal that thing up.

Then you're going to want to cook it all low and slow. For sous vide, this means let everything hang out in a 85C water bath for two hours, but you could just as easily put it in a slow cooker for the same amount of time, or toss it all in a sauce pan, cover it, and cook it over low heat for a couple of hours.

After a couple of hours of infusing action, pour the hot butter through a fine mesh strainer, and let the meaty butter firm up in the fridge. As you can see from that top photo, this smoky, umami-enriched butter is very much at home on a biscuit, but it would be outstanding whipped into mashed potatoes, tossed with roasted vegetables, or slathered of an ear of corn. I bet it would also be pretty fantastic tossed with hot pasta, especially if you threw some roasted mushrooms in there, and topped the whole mess with freshly ground pepper. In fact, I think that might be dinner.

This is part of Eating Trash With Claire, a Lifehacker series where Claire Lower convinces you to transform your kitchen scraps into something edible and delicious. 

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