Roux[edit | edit source]
Description: Roux is a mixture of wheat flour and fat. It is the basis of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: sauce béchamel, sauce velouté, and sauce espagnole (and from those we can make all sorts of yummy sauces and dishes from cheese sauce to gumbo). Butter, vegetable oils, or lard are common fats used. It is used as a base for gravy, other sauces, soufflés, soups and stews.
Assessment Checklist[edit | edit source]
Objective: This will teach you to make a basic roux in 3 segments. One light, one medium, one dark. We will use a variety of fats, each best suited to the application.
Directions: each individual will prepare 3 rouxs. The first will be a light roux made with butter and flour. This should be prepared as if it were to be used in a béchamel sauce. The Second will be prepared medium for gravy and will be made of drippings (bacon drippings are easiest here) and flour. The third will be prepared for a gumbo and will be prepared dark, using vegetable oil as a base because it has a high burn point.
- 2 cups butter (in 1 cup portions)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups flour (in 1 cup instalments)
- 1 cast iron or other rounded skillet
- 1 whisk (ideally a small one)
- 4 (excellent) – All 3 sauces were properly prepared and have a good colour and constancy.
- 3 – Rouxs are a shade over or under, but still serviceable.
- 2 - Roux is over or underdone. At least one, probably the dark roux, is uselessly burned or uselessly underdone and tastes of flour (probably the light).
- 1 - Roux is lumpy and over or underdone or both. Most do not taste good and may be burned or raw.
- 0 – All 3 roux attempts are poor. Very little difference in shade between the 3, many lumps, and roux either over or underdone universally. tastes of burn or flour. Does not thicken well.
Conditions of Assessment
- The proper cooking tools and ingredients are available
- The individual indicates when the assessment should begin.
- The assessment ends as soon as the individual indicates
Here We Go[edit | edit source]
Okay, now that you've gotten your assignment, let's go ahead and start work. Odds are good you've never made a roux before, so I'll walk you through it. Let's begin with the ...
- You're going to want to use a cast iron skillet if you can, since it'll have the best application of heat for your roux. If you don't have one, a regular skillet will do. Try to find one with rounded edges so you can get at it with your whisk (which we will need).
- Now, put a cup of butter into the skillet on a medium heat and no higher. You don't want to burn your roux.
- Once the butter is melted and the water is out of it (you'll know because the butter will stop making that sizzle noise) you can add your flour.
- Go ahead and just dump it. No need to do it slowly, but make sure you start whisking right away.
- Now the hard part. Keep whisking. It'll get boring, but do it. it doesn't have to be constant or even fast, but keep that roux moving. Eventually it will thicken up and the flour will cook into what we call a "White Roux" or "Blond Roux" on the dark side. It will be mostly white, but still faintly tanish, as if it's starting to go golden (which it is). This is when you're ready to turn it out, so dump this roux into a bowl and set about cleaning your skillet (if it's cast iron, remember to let it cool down first and clean with really hot water).
A medium roux is often called a caramel or peanut butter roux due to the colour and that's what we're shooting for. Something the colour of light peanut butter or a caramel. Pretty much, we start like above and cook longer till we have the right mix.
- Add the cup of butter, melt, get the water out, and add the flour as before.
- Whisk this in really good till it's nice and smooth.
- Then keep cooking on the same medium heat. It'll take time, but just keep the roux moving more or less constantly. The flour will eventually start to cook.
- Once the flour is a nice golden brown you'll get your brilliant peanut butter colour.
- This is the sort of roux you'd want to use for a light gumbo or other soup.
- Again, set it aside and clean your station up to prepare for your last roux.
This time we're going to make a really dark roux called a "Brick Roux". This is the last stage of roux making right before it burns and is useless and it's the one you're most likely to mess up. Careful.
- This time we're using vegetable oil instead of butter, because it's less likely to burn. The process is the same for the oil, get it hot, then add in the flour in equal amounts.
- Keep stirring. Toward the end, whisk constantly. it'll happen fast.
- As soon as the roux hits the colour of light brick, get it out of there. Don't pull the pan off the heat and wait, just start transferring it to a bowl. The heat from the skillet will burn your roux.
- If you've done it right, this roux will have a lot of flavour, but won't taste burned.
Thickening[edit | edit source]
Bear this is mind when using a roux. The darker it is, the less thickening power it has. The lighter it is, the less flavour it has.
This is what makes a blonde or peanut butter roux the most commonly used. they thicken well but also have flavour. A brick roux has a lot of flavour (this is what I would personally use for gumbo) but will barely thicken at all, so plan to use other thickening agents for that. Another type of roux, perhaps, or okra.
That completes your lesson in roux. Now that you can make one, you can make just about any sauce you can imagine. So let your mind go and see what you can come up with. Remember that cooking is a lot like playing, but you get to eat the mud pies ... without getting sick.