Food & Drinks

How To Make A Roux: Essential Tips and Recipes

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How To Make A Roux: Essential Tips and Recipes
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Did you know that roux is the base of many beloved recipes including macaroni and cheese and New England clam chowder? That's right! This simple blend of butter and flour is also the backbone of classical French cuisine and it's about time you mastered it.

Making a roux is simple and is a surefire way to thicken any sauce, soup or gravy. If you are looking to take your cooking skills to the next level then it's time you learn how to make a roux like a boss.

The following tips and recipes will help get you on your way... 

Roux Recipe

Making a roux requires just two simple ingredients: butter and flour. A 1:1 ratio is used, which means that for every tablespoon of butter you will use 1 tablespoon of flour.

To cook roux: melt the butter in the pan, sprinkle in the flour, and stir frequently until the mixture turns the color of wet sand and possesses a nutty aroma. This will take anywhere from 2-5 minutes, depending on the amount of roux you are making.

Depending on the regional cuisine or the ingredients you have on hand, the butter may be substituted with other types of fat, such as margarine, oil, pan drippings (from a roast, for instance) or lard.

Each of these lipids will alter the roux's flavor so keep that in mind when cooking. Pan drippings, for example, yield a superb gravy while lard is ideal for making recipes like gumbo.

The roux is immediately followed by the addition of the liquid. The choice of liquid will depend on which sauce (or soup/dish) you are making. Add milk to a roux and you get a bechamel, add beef stock and you've got yourself a gravy. Get the idea?

How to Make Roux for Gumbo

Unlike the roux for a classic bechamel sauce, which is white and creamy, making gumbo requires a dark roux.

Gumbo Roux Recipe

To obtain this darker hue the flour and butter or lard are cooked over a medium flame, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes dark brown (which can take up to an hour - get your arms ready!).

The dark roux will add depth of flavor to gumbo and other Cajun dishes, such as dirty rice.

Try our favorite recipe for chicken gumbo.

Roux Gravy

Pan drippings may be used alone or with butter to make a luscious gravy. The process is very straightforward: make the roux then slowly whisk in some broth, cook until the mixture thickens to the desired consistency.

You'll find the step-by-step instructions here.

Hungry for more?

Learn all about French mother sauces by clicking here.

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