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Sauces and Condiments

Bird funk and chicken liver butter

Bird funk and chicken liver butter
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

As he throws flour across the counter in a sudden sideways dust storm, Marcus Samuelsson talks about his new cookbook, about the Harlem restaurant it chronicles and about the wider project that they both articulate. As he works the butter ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours, 45 minutes, plus freezing and cooling times | Makes about 2 ½ cups each bird funk and butter

Bird funk

  • 2 cups chopped chicken skin
  • 1 cup ground chicken thighs
  • 1 cup small dried shrimp, pulsed in a food processor to finely chop
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, smashed and minced
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Step 1Line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Spread out the chicken skin and freeze for 30 minutes. Put the frozen skin through a meat grinder or pulse in batches using a food processor to mince the skin.

Step 2Scrape the skin out into a saucepan. Add the ground thighs, shrimp, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, miso and oyster sauce. Heat over low heat.

Step 3Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders and the fat begins to brown, about 45 minutes. Keep cooking, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan, unitil the funk is a deep, rich brown, about another hour and 15 minutes.

Step 4Remove from heat. The funk will keep, tightly covered and refrigerated, about 1 week. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

Chicken liver butter

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) softened butter, divided
  • ½ pound chicken livers, halved, trimmed and patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 whole clove
  • Leaves from 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brandy

Step 1In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter stops sputtering, add the livers, salt, allspice, clove and thyme and saute until the livers are cooked and browned but still pink inside, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 2Add the bourbon and stir, scraping up any browned bits. The butter, bourbon and liver juices will become almost syrupy. Scrape everything into a food processor and cool to room temperature.

Step 3To the liver mixture, add the maple syrup and brandy. Turn on the food processor and add the remaining butter, bit by bit, scraping down the sides as needed. Process until the butter is completely incorporated and the liver butter is smooth.

Step 4If you want a more refined butter, pass it through a fine strainer. Otherwise, cover tightly and refrigerate; the butter will keep about 1 week. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

Note: Adapted from a recipe in “The Red Rooster Cookbook” by Marcus Samuelsson.


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