How to Make a Roux
A roux is a cooked mixture of flour and fat of some type. You can use fat drippings, butter, shortening, or other types of fat. A roux is used as the base and thickener for gumbo and other soups that need a thick consistency and rich flavor. Read on for information on how to make a roux.
1 cup flour
1 cup fat (such as drippings from pork or chicken, butter, shortening, or oil)
Making a Roux
Choose the fat you want to use.The fat you use to make a roux greatly impacts its flavor. Using bacon drippings creates a smoky, salty base for the dish you're making. Butter adds richness, and shortening and other types of oil tend to create a lighter flavor. Use the fat recommended in the recipe you're using, or if it's not specified, consider these options:
- Use bacon or pork drippings to make a roux you'll be using for gumbo or another dish that will have smoky elements like sausage.
- Use butter to make a roux you'll be using for a creamy soup, such as a chowder. This is also a good choice if you're making a roux for macaroni and cheese.
- Shortening makes a good roux base for lighter gratin dishes, since it doesn't have an overwhelming flavor.
Heat the fat in a skillet.Use a cast iron skillet or another heavy frying pan. Place the pan over medium heat and add the fat. Let the fat heat until it has just melted. If you're using oil, let it heat for just about 2 minutes.
Add the flour.Place the flour in the skillet with the fat. Use a whisk to begin stirring the mixture constantly. Use the whisk to break up any lumps in the flour and distribute it evenly through the melted fat.
- If you want a thicker, past-like roux, add an extra 1/4 cup of flour.
- For a thinner, more liquid roux, reduce the flour by 1/4 cup.
Cook the roux.Continue whisking the roux constantly while it cooks. The mixture will begin to thin and darken after several minutes. Continue cooking it until it has the color and consistency you need for your recipe.
- Some recipes call for a blond roux. In a blond roux, the roux mixture turns to a light golden color and has a mild flavor. It's usually ready after about 8 minutes.
- You might see a recipe that calls for a dark roux, also called a chocolate roux. It can take about 60 minutes to achieve this color. Some people find it easier to start the roux on the stove and finish cooking it an over heated to 325 degrees.
Remove the roux from heat.When the roux has reached the color and texture you want, remove it from heat. It's now ready for you to use in the recipe you're following.
Store the roux.If you want to use the roux later, place it in a food storage container and keep it covered in the refrigerator. It will harden as it cools, but it will melt when you add heat. You can scoop out as much as you need on a recipe-by-recipe basis.
Using a Roux
Use a roux to make gumbo.Roux are an important element of Cajun cooking. Gumbo, a classic Cajun dish, is frequently thickened with blonde or dark roux, depending on the recipe. Make a roux and add ingredients like okra, peppers, sausage, chicken, shrimp, and chicken stock for a delicious dish.
Use a roux to make a gratin.Gratin dishes like potato, cauliflower or tomato gratin have a creamy, cheesy sauce that is built from blonde roux. The roux is thinned with milk and poured over vegetables, then topped with plenty of cheese.
QuestionI thought a roux was equal parts fat and flour by weight, not by volume?Atul Vijay PCommunity AnswerYes, a roux is equal parts fat and flour by weight. It's used as a thickening agent for making continental sauces and gravies.Thanks!
To make a roux, start by deciding what fat you to use based on the flavor you’re after. Use bacon or pork drippings, for example, if you want a smoky base for your dish, or butter for something rich and creamy. Then heat a heavy pan over medium heat and add your fat. When the fat has melted, add the flour, stirring the mixture constantly with a whisk to get rid of lumps. Want a thicker roux? It’s ok to add an extra 1/4 cup (35 grams) of flour. Now just cook until your roux is the color and consistency you want!
- If you see any black speckles in the roux, that means it's burned. You may want to start over, otherwise it may taste funny.
- Roux is usually fairly tasteless. The darker it is the more of a smoky flavor it gets.
- If the roux starts smoking, it's burning. You should notice a consistency change as soon as it starts burning as it will start to firm up very quickly and will start sticking to the pan. Don't cook it past the color of dark chocolate.
- If your soup/sauce looks too thick, add a couple of cups of water or stock to the soup to dilute it.
- If you're using a nonstick pan, don't use a metal utensil to stir the roux. It will scratch off the nonstick coating and ruin your pan.
- Be very careful not to get any hot roux on you. It will leave third degree burns, and stick until it cools.
Things You'll Need
a wooden spoon or a fully metal whisk
A cast iron or steel skillet
Sources and Citations
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