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Food: Roux is Easier than Chocolate Sauce

October 27, 2010
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Now, I’ve had my share of debacles in the kitchen, but one thing I can prepare with accuracy is a roux.

A what?

A roux- a mixture of equal parts flour and fat, the fat typically being butter. You can also use lard, vegetable oil, or if you’re feeling meaty, bacon grease. Roux is used as a thickening agent in sauces, gravies, soups, and stews, and, depending on how long you cook it, you can create one of the three different types of roux.

White: Cooked just until the mixture no longer tastes of flour, and typically used in basic bechamel sauces, primarily for thickening.
Blonde: Cooked several minutes more until a darker color is achieved and a nutty flavor is produced.
Brick:  Usually made with vegetable oil instead of butter, this roux is cooked the longest over low heat and is typically found in Creole gumbos or stews. Used more for flavor and less for thickening.

You know what else roux is good for? Fancy macaroni and cheese, which is what I am planning to make shortly. In case you are also craving this comfort food, here is how to make a lovely roux.

1. Melt three tablespoons of butter over medium heat.

melt butter until frothy

2. Next, whisk in an equal amount- by weight, not volume- of flour. This means that while the written ratio of flour to fat for a roux is 1:1, you can’t use three tablespoons of flour for three tablespoons of butter.

stir with whisk or wooden spoon

3. If your pan looks like this after you’ve incorporated your flour and cooked for a minute or two over low heat, you need to add more flour until you get a paste-like consistency. You’ll probably need about 1/4 cup of flour for 3 tablespoons of butter.

needs more flour

4. Once you get a paste, as pictured below, you have a white roux (suitable for mac and cheese).

white roux

5. If you keep cooking, you will hit the stages of blonde roux, and finally brick (or “brown”) roux. When you get to brown roux stage, the mixture will start losing its shape again, becoming a little more loose than the paste consistency of white or blonde.


brick roux

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