Sunday, May 29, 2011

How to Make a Roux

   A roux ("roo") is used to thicken soups and sauces. It has been used in French cooking for more than 300 years. It is made using equal parts of fat and flour. There are four types of rouxs, based on the length of time that they are cooked. Each has a slightly different thickening power and each adds a different flavor profile.

Types of Rouxs
1. White- Cooked for approximately 5 minutes, just until the raw flour smell is gone.
2. Blond- Cooked for approximately 20 minutes, until it has a popcorn like aroma. This is the ideal general purpose roux.
3. Brown- Cooked for approximately 35 minutes. It will take on a carmel/ light brown color and a toasted & nutty aroma. At this point the roux starts to loose some of it's thickening power, more roux will be needed for the same amount of liquid.
4. Black- Cooked for approximately 45 minutes, until it takes on a melted milk chocolate color. This roux is most commonly used in Cajun cuisine, or when the soup or sauce is very dark in color.

How to Make a Roux
   A properly cooked roux will add a silky smooth body and nutty flavor to your soup or sauce. I recommend starting with larger quantities than what you think you will need. It cooks more evenly and doesn't burn as easily. It also can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for weeks.

1. Heat your medium saute pan on medium heat. When hot, add 1/2 cup of Butter.
2. When your butter is melted sprinkle 1/2 cup of All Purpose Flour into the pan and swirl into the butter. Using a wooden spoon, continuously stir until it is completely incorporated.
3. It burns easy. Turn the heat down to low, and stir continuously.
4. When stirring, it should take on a crumbly appearance. When allowed to settle, it should be smooth in appearance. Cook until the raw flour smell and flavor are gone, approximately 5 minutes.
5. At this point you have a white roux. You may continue cooking for the flavor and appearance that you like. Keep your heat down and continue stirring.
6. Allow to cool in the pan.
7. Store in sealed container at room temperature.

Using it to Thicken
   To have your end product be silky smooth and prevent clumping, follow these simple instructions.
1. Put the amount of roux your recipe calls for in a sauce pan, heat until warmed.
2. While whisking, add a small amount of liquid, until completely incorporated and smooth.
3. Pour the roux & liquid mixture into your sauce/ soup slowly, while whisking.
4. If you are unsure of how much roux it will take to thicken your liquid, always start with less, it is easy to add more.

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