Roux is used to thicken soups and sauces. It emparts a nice butter flavor to the sauce as well.

Roux is made by melting butter, and adding flour to it, mixing well to eliminate any pockets of unemulsified flour. It is better to add roux than straight flour to thicken a sauce, because as the roux melts into the sauce, it does so evenly, and will not add lumps.

A roux is also the essential ingrediant to Gumbo. Various stages of roux can be made depending on the desired usage. For a gravy, a lighter roux is desired as it has a greater thickening power. For a Gumbo, a very dark roux should be made. To make a roux for gumbo, one should mix equal parts flour and vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat, just enough to get it to bubble. Cook for a while while constantly stirring. The roux is done when it is about the color of chocolate. The general rule of thumb is that a roux should take about the same amount of time as drinking 2 beers. I've found it takes about 45 minutes to make a proper gumbo roux. Do not leave it alone, or it will burn and give the gumbo a bitter taste.

A roux is a mixture of butter (or another fat) and flour, cooked together to form a thickening agent for sauces or soups. There are three types of traditional roux, used for different purposes:

White roux is usually made from clarified butter and unbleached white flour, so it has a pale yellow colour. It is used for Béchamel and other milk-based sauces and for thick soups. It is cooked only until it no longer has a raw taste and has a frothy and slightly gritty consistency, but hasn’t begun to darken in colour.

Blond roux, sometimes called “pale roux”, is made from equal portions of butter (not clarified butter) and unbleached white flour and used for veloutés, sauces based on white stocks. It is cooked slightly longer than white roux to give it a deeper colour.

Brown roux is made from equal portions of flour and clarified butter and cooked until it turns a light brown colour and develops a nutty flavour. It’s used for darker sauces, such as Espagnole and Demi-glace. Sometimes the flour is browned in an oven before beginning the roux.

The easiest method I have found for using roux in sauces or soups is this: Allow the roux to cool somewhat before adding a liquid to it because it won’t lump as easily. Liquids should be added slowly and mixed with a wire whisk. Once the roux is blended with stock, water, or milk to a smooth consistency, heat it and stir continuously as it thickens. Once thickened, reduce the heat or it may burn.

Note: The longer a roux is cooked, the less effective it is as a thickener. Brown roux is about 1/3 the strength of white roux. Personally, I'd rather deglaze the pan.

Many of the previous nodes describe what a roux is, but have not fully explained the cultural importance of the thick stew. Any New Orleans cook worth their salt can whip up a decent roux. In fact, upon meeting someone new in the city, they'll most likely ask you:

Who's ya mama?

Where'd ya go to high school?

Can ya make a roux?

See also: New Orleans vocabulary

Roux (?), n. [F. beurre roux brown butter.] Cookery

A thickening, made of flour, for soups and gravies.


© Webster 1913.

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