Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday- making a roux

This is a very unofficial how-to.  I could probably be arrested by the French government for even calling this a tutorial.  But this is how I make roux and it works just fine for my purposes. 

First off, a roux is a cooked mixture of flour and fat, usually used as a thickening agent in cooking.  I use it for one of two reasons: to thicken a soup or to form the base of a sauce (usually a cheese sauce for pasta).  If I am making any type of creamy soup, I make a roux to whisk in during the last half hour of cooking.  It gives the broth a thicker, velvety texture that I love, without changing the flavor. 

Step 1: Melt some butter in a saucepan.  I use about 2 tablespoons. 

Step 2: Once the butter has completely melted, throw in a couple of spoonfuls of flour.  Keep the heat around medium and be ready to whisk the mixture immediately after you add the flour.  Add a little bit at a time until you have added enough flour to make a thick paste with the butter.

Step 3: Whisk, whisk, whisk, so that it gets a little cooked, but does not burn. 

Step 4 (where Julia Child rolls over in her grave): slowly add milk (or you could use broth if you like).  Whisk like crazy.  Once it gets smooth, add some more milk.  I like to add a liquid before adding it to the soup so that it stirs right in.

Step 5: Keep whisking...

Step 6: DONE!  When the consistency is what you want, you're done.  For soup thickener, I like my roux to be like a thick gravy.  For a sauce, it might need to be a bit thinner since you'll be adding cheese later. 

Let me know if you thicken anything exciting!

I am at the craft fair today and tomorrow, so I'll share some pictures of that later in the week!

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