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Everyone has a connection to food. After all, we have to eat. My connections to food were formed by seeing both my mother and my father in the kitchen. And Roux (pronounced “Roo”) was introduced to me by my mother.
Another component of cooking is foundation and repetition. Get the basics down and then you can move on from there. I highlight this simple butter and flour mixture as a fundamental recipe to making other soups and sauces. It’s very simple and requires no preparation, other than gathering the ingredients - flour and butter - done.
I am writing about Roux because of my belief in how fundamentally important this mixture is in being able to create many other wonderful dishes. It’s a foundation of cooking and making delicious sauces and soups. The name may come from French cooking and cuisine, but the taste is internationally appealing.
Roux is a thickener with flavor. A thin or sad soup or gravy can be thickened and flavored with Roux. Brown butter and flour is a powerhouse of amazing flavors!
Simple ingredients like stock, mushrooms and roux easily make a soup or a sauce. This roux increases the thickness or viscosity of the liquid. Make thin sauces and soups bolder and heartier.
¼ Pound or 1 stick of butter (110 grams) (mantequilla)
Approximately ¼ Pound of All Purpose Flour (110 grams) (harina)
The idea more or less for your roux ratio is to have equal parts flour and butter, obviously if you want to make a smaller or larger batch, go ahead, just keep the roux recipe in about equal ratios of weight. I usually just judge by “eyeballing” it, but some people prefer exact measurements. After the mixture has cooled, it is easy to store in an airtight container at room temperatures for a week or two. Or if you plan on keeping it longer, put it in the fridge and scrape off a spoon or two when needed.
The final mixture should be almost of a peanut butter or thicker consistency. And once you start heating it and the roux starts to brown, keep stirring constantly so as to prevent the underside from burning.
The “Smell of Bread” is how my mother always used to describe the necessary smell that indicated “doneness” of her roux recipe. I usually judge it by color, somehow the “smell of bread” always seems to escape me. It is a pleasant roasted smell of browned butter and flower, but not quite that of bread baking.
I look for a nice roasted light, almond brown color to peanut butter color. The consistency while hot in the pan should be smooth. I constantly stir the roux in the pan and I like to use a nice wooden spatula to move the roux frequently.
When hot in the pan, the roux should almost be like a creeping mass, slowly spreading out. If it is too dry (see pictured), the roux will look crumbly, so add butter a tablespoon or so at a time. If it is too wet, the roux will easily run around the pan, so add some flower, just dust the flour over the already cooking mixture.
Importantly, be careful! Trust me, the hot roux is sticky and burns. The roux may not look hot because it is not bubbling like a soup or frying like an oil, but it is very hot. The heat is also why it is important when you take it out of the pan to use a ceramic dish, it will melt and warp thinner plastic dishes.
It does almost look like peanut butter when it is finished.
A roux is great for soups and sauces. Any dish that you need to thicken, especially dishes like cream soups and cheesy sauces.
For one suggested recipe, check out Creamy Chicken Mushroom White Wine Gravy. Everything made from scratch and rich with flavor, thickened with the roux. Don't forget to make your own Chicken Stroth first! See these recipe links below.