Sorry for my absence yesterday, but I’ve just been incredibly busy. You may notice, however, that I did manage to get the March theme up, and since green is my absolutely favorite color, I’m quite happy with it.
But onward and forward. Today what I have isn’t so much a recipe as a procedure: how to make ghee.
Clarified butter and ghee are often used interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same thing. Clarified butter is butter that is melted and has the water and milk solids removed (and thereby removing the lactose and casein), leaving only the butterfat behind. When prepared properly, clarified butter is more stable than standard butter containing water and milk solids – it has a higher smoking point and a longer shelf life. (Supposedly, clarified butter will last for up to a month without refrigeration if it is kept in an airtight container, although my personal experience shows that to not necessarily be true.)
Ghee has quite a long history, as it has been used in Indian cooking for many thousands of years, and can be fairly expensive in stores. It is merely clarified butter that is simmered for a period of time, allowing the milk solids to gently brown, giving the butterfat a slightly nutty taste and a lovely golden color – it is simply delicious. It is also incredibly easy to make yourself, although you must watch it carefully so the milk solids do not burn.
And since the lactose and casein are (mostly) removed, it doesn’t bother me as much as standard butter does, allowing me to enjoy it occasionally. Which makes Jan a very happy camper – I’ve missed butter more than I realized!
- 2 pounds unsalted butter
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy, non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat and continue heating until foam begins to appear on the surface. You can skim the foam off, but it is not necessary.
- Lower the heat slightly, and simmer the butter for 45 to 50 minutes, or until all of the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan and become brown, and the butterfat turns golden and has a slightly nutty fragrance.
- Line a mesh strainer with a triple-layer of cheesecloth, or an unbleached coffee filter, and strain the butterfat into a clean, 1-quart glass jar, taking care to keep the milk solids out of the ghee.
- Cool completely and cap tightly; the ghee will keep for many weeks if refrigerated.
- Nutrition (per serving): 102 calories, 11.5g total fat, 30.5mg cholesterol, 1.6mg sodium, 3.4mg potassium, <1g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, <1g sugar, <1g protein.