Sunday, November 2, 2008

Making a Roux

First, you make a roux. So many of my favorite dishes from childhood start that way. Making a roux is not as hard as you might think. The most important part of making a roux is DO NOT WALK AWAY!!! Like most things, if you burn a roux, you'll have to toss it and start all over again, so watch it carefully. It should be stirred occasionally to promote even coloring and prevent scorching, about every 15 seconds or so. How much roux should you make? Well, that depends a lot on taste and how thick you like your liquid. Make more roux than you think you'll need and simply set some aside. You can always add roux, but you can't take it out. I usually use a 1 to 1 ratio of fat to flour, but if you're a beginner, use a 2 to 1 ratio of fat to flour. This will help prevent the roux from burning. Once you get the hang of roux, you can decrease the fat. How long should you cook a roux? Again, it depends on taste. It also depends on what you're making. For gumbo, you'll want a dark, or "brick" roux. If you're making a cheese sauce, you'll want a light, or "blonde" roux. You'll also want to use butter for a cheese sauce, not shortening. A brick roux adds not only color, but a certain distinctive flavor to the dish. So... go make a roux, better yet... make gumbo!

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