A mix of flour and butter or milk cooked over low heat until blended. It is generally used to thicken soups and sauces, or as a base for a sauce or gravy.
You can make either a white or brown roux, depending on the type of sauce you are making. Obviously, the lighter the sauce the more you would want white and the darker the sauce, the more you would want brown. The difference between the two lies in how long it is cooked. White roux is cooked until it is mixed and no longer tastes like flour. Brown roux is cooked until the mixture has reached a light brown and smells like something that has baked. To make a standard white roux, simply mix flour and a fat (usually butter) together in a 1:1 ratio and heat over a low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture has cooked.
- Be prepared to stir continually! Only by doing this will your roux act as a thickener in your sauce. If you fail stir enough, the starch will not swell completely, and your roux will not absorb the liquid in the sauce. i.e. - Sauce will be runny!
- If there is a strong taste of flour, your roux has not cooked long enough. Continue cooking until there is no taste of flour.
- Have patience, especially when preparing a brown roux. There is no way to rush the process and produce quicker results without ruining the end result.
- An ideal pan for making roux or any sauce is a Saucier. The sides are rounded on the bottom, so no flour or sauce sticks in the crease between the bottom of the pan and the sides. If you plan on making any kind of sauce, owning one of these is invaluable!
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