Butter makes everything better. At least, this is something I believe to be true. Give me a loaf of artisan bread and some soft, creamy salted butter—I am in heaven. Mashed potatoes, Belgian waffles, and banana bread—I put butter on all of it! Butter has received a bad reputation over the years. It fell from grace with the dawn of the low cholesterol diet and has, just recently, regained some respect in the food world. Now, I am not suggesting we go overboard and put butter on everything. It is one of those ingredients we should use in moderation and with intent.
Butter has long been used as vital ingredient in basting roasting meats. It makes for a crispy exterior and keeps the meat juicy. Using this fact as inspiration, I wanted to inject more flavor into the meat of roasted chicken. Why not use butter as a vehicle to accomplish this task? Instead of basting the bird, I smeared the butter between the skin and the meat. Now, let’s talk flavors. Butter by itself is great, but a compound butter—softened butter mixed with herbs and spices—is even better. For this recipe, I mixed minced garlic, lemon zest, chives, and parsley with my softened salted butter. Using my fingers, I separated the skin from the meat. There is a membrane in there that breaks easily with slight force. Once the skin and meat have been disconnected, there is a great space to spread the compound butter.
After spreading the compound butter under the skin of each piece of chicken, I applied a light coating of olive oil, salt, and pepper to the outside. I used leg quarters for this recipe, and roasted them at 375° F for 40-45 minutes. I like something puréed or mashed with my roast chicken like celery root and potatoes. Add a little balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of chives…and you have an impressive meal for your family and friends. Don’t be afraid to play with different flavors in your compound butter. The possibilities are endless!
Celery Root & Mashed Potatoes
- 1 large celery root
- 12 medium new potatoes
- 1 tsp. salt
- 5 tbs. butter
- 1/3 c. crème fraiche
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the outer layer of the celery root and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes.
- Cut small new potatoes in half
- Place the potatoes and the celery root in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a low boil and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until celery root and potatoes are fork tender.
- Strain and place in a bowl.
- Add butter and crème fraiche
- Mash the mixture with a potato masher to the desired consistency—I like some chunks in mine!
- Add salt and pepper to taste