How To: make sage and shallot flavoured butter

The How To series on Fish Fingers for Tea is about answering those kitchen questions that crop up on a regular basis. Sometimes we might focus on skills, sometimes it might be useful things to know or know how to do or simply things that are nice to be able to master. Today we’re looking at how to make sage and shallot flavoured butter.

I come from a family that doesn’t really do the traditional Christmas dinner. We’ve had duck, beef and there was the memorable year that we booked in to an Indian restaurant. I guess you could call it our own tradition but Rich grew up with turkey and all the trimmings so we compromised with a chicken last year. This year we’re going full on traditional dinner with a turkey.

Sage and shallot flavoured butter

This is the last part of the Kenwood Christmas Menu and we’re talking the main event. The big dinner on the big day. I’m not going to tell you how to roast a chicken or a turkey, you already know how to do that or if you want some tips then there are people out there better qualified than me to talk to you about that. But I am going to share a way to help keep the bird lovely and moist and get an extra layer of flavour in there to boot.

We tend to have a roast chicken dinner – and let’s face it, that’s all Christmas dinner really is, a roast dinner – a couple of times a month. And I’ve found that getting some butter under the skin as well smeared over the top produces moist and tender breast meat. And if you get some flavouring in to that butter then it’s all the better.

Flavoured butter

It’s not a new trick and certainly not original but it’s an easy one. Using a very sharp knife make a slit in the skin at the neck and then, using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the flesh, as far as you can reach. Essentially you’re making a pocket.

By easing the flavoured butter under the skin you make sure that the flesh stays moist and is infused with flavour, in this case it’s sage, shallot and a little smoked garlic. Normal garlic is also fantastic but having picked up a couple of smoked bulbs I was intrigued how it would work. Well, it would seem.

Flavoured butter

Another smothering of butter over the top and it’s ready to meet a hot oven. Moist flavourful meat and a crisp golden skin. Roast your potatoes in the butter that’s left in the tin once the chicken (or turkey) is done, don’t forget the Brussels sprouts, chipolatas, gravy, a variety of sauces and bingo, dinner is served.

As always you can catch up with Karen, Beth, Elsie and Becs in the links below.

Sage and shallot butter

Yield: 250g

Flavoured butters are a fantastic way to add a little extra something to your meat or to boost your veg. This version is perfect for roast chicken or turkey, helping the meat to stay moist and boost the flavour.


  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove garlic – I used smoked
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dried sage


  1. Peel and halve the shallot and garlic. Place in a food processor and whizz (the technical term!) until they are both finely chopped.
  2. Add the softened butter and dried sage and process again until well combined.
  3. Lay a piece of cling film on the work surface and spoon the butter in to the middle. Using the film, shape the butter into a log, roll and wrap within the film.
  4. Place in the fridge until firm and ready to use.
  5. Remove from the fridge 20 minutes before using.


This will also keep in the freezer for about a month.

This is a sponsored post in association with Kenwood. I received a Titanium Chef in return for creating a Christmas menu.

  • Polly

    Yum, anything with butter is wonderful!

    • Fishfingers for tea

      It certainly is!

  • Karen Burns Booth

    What a great idea Sian, and I often use Boursin to keep my birds moist, but, this lush butter looks just amazing and I bet it added a fabulous flavour to the chicken. I have loved all of your Kenwoood Christmas menu recipes and it has been great to be part of the team with you, have a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Karen xxxx

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Thanks Karen, I’ve never used Boursin but I’m going to have to now! The menu has been fun to work on hasn’t it, I think we’ve all made a good team. Merry Christmas! x

  • fembat

    This looks beautiful. Its a great idea. I´ve done sage flavoured butter before but I like the idea of adding the shallot, very nice. I have really loved your ideas for the Kenwood Christmas menu and I am thrilled I got to be part of it with you. Incidentally, just in case you werent aware, this is Eliza from The Recipe Blog. My disqus username is fembat :)

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Thanks Eliza! And thanks for clarifying! Working on the menu has been great hasn’t it, I’ve loved your spanish twist on things. Hopefully we’ve given a nice range of ideas!

  • Sarah Maison Cupcake

    I’ve always meant to make myself a stash of herb butters to freeze in little portions and I think I feel inspired now! I would love to try something other than turkey for Christmas but my husband insists we get a gobbler…

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Do give them a go Sarah, they’re really useful to have around and freeze fantastically.

  • Becs @ Lay the table

    I always do the butter under the skin but your flavouring sounds amazing! I have had smoked garlic before but never thought what to do with it! I’ve really enjoyed everyone’s posts from the past few weeks and you’re on my reading list now!

    • Fishfingers for tea

      And you’re on mine Becs! The smoked garlic is fab, I read a suggestion of trying it in mashed potatoes so I’m going to have to give that a go!

  • Bangers & Mash

    Like you, turkey isn’t a regular on our Christmas menu. We’ve had duck, goose and even sirloin steak in the past, but this year we’re going for a stuffed and boned turkey leg. Perfect when there’s only two adults and two kids. I love the sound of your butter and as I’m a big fan of smoked garlic, I’m just going to have to give it a try!

    • Fishfingers for tea

      The first Christmas that Rich and I were together we treated ourselves to a very nice piece of steak for Christmas day! Smoked garlic is recent discovery of mine but I have to admit to forming a slight addiction!

  • Rita cooks Italian

    Sage and garlic are two wonderful flavours, perfect for a Christmassy butter.

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Thanks Rita and also really useful on a normal roast chicken too!