A few things are essential for a home cook: a great roast chicken, delicious scrambled eggs and a delicious apple pie. This list should include knowing how to make a “roux”. A roux can be made from two ingredients and thicken stews or sauces. A roux can be used to make a creamy, smooth sauce for pot pies, macaroni and cheese, and even your Thanksgiving gravy. Although it is easy to burn and ruin, it’s not difficult to master.
Let’s begin with the basics of making a roux.
What is a Roux?
A roux can be used to thicken the batter. It is flour that has been cooked in fats such as butter. When the proteins in flour are heated, they expand to disperse evenly into the liquid they are being mixed with. You can use raw flour as a thickener agent. However, it is better to cook the flour first. This removes the floury flavor and gives the roux a nutty taste. It also creates a smoother texture.
First, melt a fat (butter, vegetable oil, or rendered animal fat) in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has been melted, a similar amount of flour will be added. For making a roux, a 1:1 ratio is best. Mix the mixture constantly until it reaches the desired color. Turn the heat down to allow the flour to continue cooking. You can either add the flour to a stew, or you can use whole milk to make bechamel sauce. For the ultimate cheese sauce, add cheddar or Gruyere cheese.
Types Of Roux
The length of the cooking time determines which roux you use. There are three main types of roux. The shortest cooking time is for a white blonde roux. This roux is used in creamy sauces such as bechamel. Although the flour has been lightly brown, it is still very pale. The blonde roux lies just beyond the white. The blonde roux is darker in color. It can be identified by the almost nutty aroma that develops as the fat and flour continue to brown. A brown roux, which has been cooked for the longest time, is the darkest. It has the most intense smell, flavor and color. It is important to remember that the roux’s thickness will depend on its color. To thicken the same amount of a lighter roux, you will need to use more dark roux. A dark roux is an essential component of many Creole and Cajun favorites like jambalaya, gumbo, and etoufee.
A watched pot will never boil, but an unwatched one will always burn.
Making a roux can be complicated because of the many variables involved. There are many possible outcomes for a two-ingredient recipe. The final result can be affected by heat, type of fat and timing. However, patience is the most important thing when making a Roux.
This really is one of those slow-and-steady-wins-the-race moments.
How to Make a Roux
Your fat is the first thing you should do. A roux is a method of determining what type of fat you should use in a recipe. It will greatly affect the flavor. Unsalted butter is a good place to start if it doesn’t.
Over low heat, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once the butter is melted, and the foaming has subsided, you can add the flour. You should use the same quantities. You will need to add two tablespoons butter to the recipe.
Once the butter and flour are combined, you will need to stir the mixture with either a spoon or a flat-edged, wooden spoon. To prevent the roux burning, you will need a tool that can move the mixture.
The mixture will initially be quite liquid, but continue stirring. It will become a paste-like consistency as it cooks. Soon the color will intensify.
Continue to stir. The flour will smell fragrant as it cooks. It will have a pleasant, warm, and nutty aroma. Continue to stir. You don’t have to worry about anything but stirring.
It depends on how long it takes to cook, such as the size of your stove, the amount of fat used, and the type of roux you are using. A white roux may take only a few minutes to make, while a dark one will take much more time. My mother took a cooking class in New Orleans once. The chef claimed that it took the same amount of time to make a good dark roux for a bowl of gumbo as it takes to consume a six-pack of beer. It is important to take your time. Did I mention to stir?
After your roux has been browned to your taste, you can add warm, room temperature stock, or milk and continue to whisk vigorously. It is important that the liquid and roux have similar temperatures. If the liquid and roux are very different temperatures, it can cause the sauce to become lumpy. The sauce is now ready to use!