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This technique is to create a roux, which is a flour/fat based thickener for sauces, stews and soups. Basically, you heat one part of fat and an equal part of flour. Then you cook the flour/fat mixture. This process helps to minimize lump formation and cooks out the raw flour flavour. This recipe is enough to thicken about 500 ml of liquid (water, stock, milk, etc. based on what you want to make). You can alter the amount of fat or flour or the amount of liquid you mix in to achieve the thickening you want. Additionally, the more you cook the flour, the less thickening power it has, but the more flavour it develops.

  • 30 ml unsalted butter

  • 30 ml all purpose flour

  • 500 ml water OR stock OR milk

Making Roux Step 1

Step 1Heat your fat over medium-high heat. In this example, I’m using butter so melt it until the water in it just starts to sizzle. If using an oil, such as olive oil, heat it until a drop of water just starts to sizzle.

Making Roux Step 2

Step 2When the oil is hot, add all the flour and quickly mix it in.

Making Roux Step 3

Step 3You will notice the oil start to bubble and thicken as you mix in the flour.

Making Roux Step 4

Step 4Stir constantly. The flour will continue to bubble as it cooks. The longer you cook the flour in this stage the darker it will get (and the less thickening power it will have). Here it is in the white stage, which is perfect for white sauces like bechamel.

Making Roux Step 5

Step 5Here is an example of a blond stage which is great for light gravies and sauces.

Making Roux Step 6

Step 6Here is an example of a brown stage which is great for dark gravies and stews. The next stage is brick (dark reddish brown) for something like gumbo. Just be careful not to overcook it and get the black (burned) stage.

Making Roux Step 7

Step 7When the roux gets to the darkness you desire, add a third of the liquid. It will boil very quickly so watch out for steam. In this example I am using milk. You can use any liquid you desire, water, milk, stock, etc.

Making Roux Step 8

Step 8You will then see the flour “seize” meaning the mixture will turn into a thick paste as the starch absorbs the liquid. Keep whisking to minimize lumps.

Making Roux Step 9

Step 9When the roux is smooth, add another third of the liquid and continue whisking constantly. It may be a little lumpy at times but keep whisking to smooth it out.

Making Roux Step 10

Step 10When the roux is smooth again, add the rest of the liquid, continuing to whisk to keep it smooth until it starts to simmer. Once it starts to simmer, you can turn off the heat.

Making Roux Step 11

Step 11When you’re done, you should have a nice smooth gravy or sauce. You can use it as is according to the recipe you are using or you can mix it with a liquid you desire to thicken.

Category: Sauces

Cuisine: French

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