I’ve recently been putting more emphasis on having plenty of good fats in my diet. Hormonal balance, healthy brain function, energy, and yes, weight regulation are all associated with a regular intake of healthy fats (together with a diet mindful of sugar), and that’s enough reasons to get me to be a bit more attentive to my fat consumption. Virgin coconut oil is on high rotation in my kitchen, so I’m covered there, but I’ve recently been adding more variety to my fats by mindfully incorporating things like avocado, flax/other seeds and nuts, and ghee into everyday meals. I just got back into making my own ghee (golden, clarified butter that has a higher smoke point than normal butter and is low in lactose and casein) at home. It’s such an easy and gratifying process, and I thought I would share my method here, since I’ve heard some people describe ghee-making as intimidating. It is not! It does take some time, but my double-boiler recipe does not require too much babysitting – the magic mostly happens on its own.
Since gift season is fast approaching and I like to cook my gifts, I’ve been brainstorming edible presents I’ll make this year. The idea for compound ghee came up. Chances are, you’ve heard of compound butter, which is butter mixed with other flavorful ingredients like herbs, spices, dried fruit and more, and used as an extra-flavorful agent in cooking. I applied this flavoring idea to ghee and whipped it with miso and dates, to mind-blowingly delicious results. In Ayurvedic tradition, ghee is regarded as a highly medicinal food (anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting and a digestive aid), and what better thing to give your loved ones than a jar of health-promoting ghee that also tastes amazing and can be used to enhance so many foods in their kitchens – anything from toast to veggies. And of course, the flavor possibilities for compound ghee are endless, next on my list is a roasted garlic and herb one. It’s going to get wild.
This easy, festive brussels sprout dish is one idea for utilizing the miso-date ghee. To me, well-roasted brussels sprouts often resemble popcorn in flavor, so a slather of buttery, sweet and salty ghee seems like a very logical finishing touch. Serve it as a side dish on your holiday table and don’t forget to offer your guests a dish of extra miso-date ghee for dipping, they will appreciate your generosity very much ;)
- 2 pounds (8 sticks/908g) unsalted butter, preferably grass-fed (I use Kerrygold)
- 1 cup ghee
- 1 tablespoon sweet white miso
- 3-4 dates
- Cut the butter into large chunks. Place into a medium-sized heatproof pan/bowl that is approximately twice as large as the volume of the butter. Prepare a large, heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan that can fit the bowl of butter within to make a double boiler. Half-fill the large pot with water and place the bowl with butter inside. Make sure the bowl is stable and not floating and the water in the pot is somewhat level with the butter. Bring the water to a boil.
- Lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for about two hours or longer, until the upper foamy layer of the butter turns golden in color. Keep an eye on the water level in the pot and add more hot water as needed. The butter will melt and separate into three layers - foam on top, clear golden ghee in the middle, and white milk solids on the bottom (some might float atop).
- Remove bowl with butter from the heat and let cool slightly. Skim the foam off the top with a slotted spoon and discard. Prepare a cheesecloth-lined, fine-mesh strainer and strain the ghee into a clean jar, pouring carefully and trying to keep the milk solids at the bottom from sliding into the strainer. If you see that a lot of the white solids got into the jar through the strainer, strain one more time. The finished product should be clear and golden in color.
- Ghee does not have to be refrigerated, but you can refrigerate it if you prefer. The ghee will solidify a bit at room temperature and harden in the fridge. It stays fresh for months.
- Use soft, room temperature ghee. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. If you prefer to have some larger date chunks in your ghee, reserve one date and add it in once the ghee has been whipped smooth, pulsing once or twice to break the date up into chunks.
- Distribute the miso-date ghee between small gift jars or place into one jar and keep refrigerated.
- 3-4 cups brussels sprouts - outer damaged leaves removed, halved
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon plain ghee or neutral coconut oil - soft
- 3-4 teaspoons miso-date ghee at room temperature (from above), plus more for serving
- ¼ cup pecans - toasted and crushed
- Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C).
- Place brussels sprouts onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and plain ghee/coconut oil, mix thoroughly. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your brussels sprouts, until baked throughout and charred in places. Let cool slightly.
- Place the still warm brussels sprouts into a bowl and add the miso-date ghee, mixing thoroughly. Taste and add more if needed. Add toasted pecans and mix. Place onto a serving plate and serve with more miso-date ghee for dipping.