Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday Tip: How to Roux

Sauces can be thickened several different ways.  Each person has a preference, and mine is with a roux.  My mother's is with cornstarch which will be explained at a later date.  Why do I prefer roux?  Roux it more stable than cornstarch especially if you plan on reheating the sauce.  Cornstarch is much easier than making roux though.  Why?  Roux is more of an art rather than an exact science; it really is one of those cooking things you have to do and use a few times to get the hang of it.  I also think that roux thickened sauces tastes better than cornstarch thickened sauces, but I am biased--I LOVE BUTTER!!!  So it's up to you and what works for you!

{Roux thickened sauce}

Roux is basically mixing the same amount of fat (any fat--butter, animal fat, or oil) and flour together then cooking it.  The fat coats the flour which is cooked and thickens when liquid is added.  It's pretty awesome!  I have not used oil to make a roux, but it should work (theoretically--I might have to test that theory).

{Melting butter}

{Adding flour}

{Roux should form a paste}


Thickens 1 cup liquid

2 tablespoons fat (butter, animal fat, or oil)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup liquid, room temperature
  1. Melt fat in a saucepan.
  2. Add flour.
  3. Mix flour and fat until a paste forms.  This paste will be cooked according to what kind of roux you want: white (2-3 minutes), blonde (3-4 minutes), and brown (4-5 minutes).  The darker the roux, the less thickening power it has.
  4. Once roux is cooked to desired color, add liquid and stir until smooth.
  5. Heat liquid until simmering.  The sauce should thicken the hotter it gets.  If the sauce gets too thick add more liquid to thin it out.
I use white roux 99% of the time because it has the most thickening power.  Brown roux is rarely used unless you are making gumbo, jumbalya or traditional French mother sauces.  I hardly use blond roux because it has less thickening power than white roux but don't be fooled.  I have stepped away from the roux pot and accidently made a white roux blond.  Oops--it happens to the best of us!

How do you prefer to thicken your sauces?

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