How Do you Make a Roux? It’s a question I get very often and for great reason. A roux is an essential component to so many good tasting sauces, gravies, soups and stews. So important is roux in cooking, it is used in three of the mother sauces of classical French cuisine: Velouté, Espagnole, and Béchamel sauce. Don’t let those fancy sauce names fool you though, a roux is also important in a good Mac and Cheese and that gravy we all like to use on top of those mashed potatoes and turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
How Do You Make a Roux?
When making sauces and gravies, unless thickened by a reduction, a thickening agent is needed. There are many options to which you may turn.
Common Thickening Agents:
Roux (pronounced roo, as in kangaROO).
How Do You Make a Roux
How to prepare and use a roux is what I’m going to discuss with you today. Basically, a roux is equal amounts of flour and fat, cooked together to make a binding thickener for stews, soups, sauces and gravy. Fats that can be used include butter, drippings or oil. Once you’ve successfully made and used a roux a few times, you’ll be able to “eyeball” it, without measuring or weighing. Look for the perfect ratio of flour and fat in a roux to have the consistency and appearance of wet sand.
Common fats used for roux may include
Generally, there are 3 colors of roux. White, blond and brown. The color and flavor desired for your end product determines the color of roux that you need to make for your thickener.
When preparing a roux, it’s important to constantly stir (I use a wooden spoon) or whisk.
A white roux is cooked the least, no more then 5 minutes, so it remains light and is mostly used with a milk base (think Béchamel, one of the 5 mother sauces).
When making a blonde roux, the fat & butter is cooked out to a golden color, 5 to 10 minutes, taking a little more time to make than a white roux. Because of this, it will have more flavor than a white roux. Blonde roux can be used in chowders, bisques, gravy, and when mixed with a stock, becomes a Velouté, another 1 of the 5 mother sauces.
A brown roux is cooked between 10 and up to 30 minutes. Brown roux are great bases for meat gravies and are used as an ingredient in another mother sauce, Espagnole. As a roux continues to cook its flavor will deeper thus producing a more pronounced taste. Dark brown roux is used in traditional gumbo. Another 10 minutes can be added on to the cooking time for this.
The darker the roux becomes, the less thickening ability it will have to receive liquids, due to the result of the chains in the gluten being altered by the deep cooking process. Therefore, plan on making extra roux when making a darker product.
A flour based sauce is the correct consistency when it coats the back of the spoon- this is called Nappé in French cooking.