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A Simple Definition of Roux, and What Sauces Are Based on It

Roux is a mixture of flour and fat that are cooked together and used as a thickener in a variety of sauces.

5-Minute Crafts would like to tell you about how to make roux and what sauces you can create while using it as a base.

What roux is made from

Roux is usually made from equal parts flour and fat by weight. Butter, lard, or bacon slices are used as fat. The cooking process is as follows:

  • Fat is heated in a pot or pan, melting it if necessary.
  • Then some flour is added.
  • The resulting mixture is heated and stirred with a whisk until the flour is completely dissolved and the mass becomes thick and smooth.

The final color of the roux varies from almost white to almost black, depending on the duration of heating.

Types of roux

There are 4 types of roux, which differ from each other in color. The color depends on the cooking time — lighter roux is cooked for less than 5 minutes, and dark roux is cooked for 30-40 minutes.

  • White roux has a neutral flavor and is mainly used to thicken sauces and soups.
  • Blonde roux has a more nutty flavor and is also suitable for sauces and soups.
  • Brown roux has a nutty flavor and less thickening power than a lighter roux. It is ideal for brown sauces (e.g. Espagnole).
  • Dark brown roux is the most flavorful but the least useful as a thickener. Dark brown roux is used in many Creole and Cajun dishes, like gumbo and jambalaya.

Béchamel

Bechamel is a sauce made from white roux and milk, often with the addition of salt and nutmeg. It’s also used to make Italian lasagne and Greek moussaka, and it serves as a base for other sauces, such as Mornay sauce, which is béchamel with cheese.

To make béchamel sauce, you’ll need:

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Salt and spices to taste

The cooking process:

  1. Make the roux, melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Then cook it for 1-2 minutes until the roux turns a very light golden brown.
  2. Whisk the milk into the roux a little at a time until the sauce is smooth and the milk has been incorporated. The standard ratio uses 2-3 cups of milk for every half-cup of butter and half-cup of flour. Use warm milk to avoid lumps.
  3. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer slowly, stirring regularly until the consistency is moderately thick.
  4. Add spices to taste, and stir.

Velouté

Velouté is a savory sauce made from a roux and a light stock. Usually, beef, chicken, or fish stock is used, which is thickened with a blonde roux. The final sauce is determined by the type of stock used: chicken velouté, fish velouté, seafood velouté, and so on.

To make velouté, you’ll need:

  • 1 liter of stock
  • 3.5 ounces of blonde roux (1.75 ounces of flour and 1.75 ounces of butter)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The cooking process:

  1. Melt butter over medium heat, then add flour and cook until you have a blonde roux.
  2. Heat the stock in a separate saucepan and add it to the roux using a whisk to prevent lumps from forming.
  3. Gently bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir.

Espagnole

Espagnole is a brown sauce that is rarely used on its own, but it can be added to soups, stews, sauces, risottos, and many other dishes, giving them a rich, savory flavor.

To make Espagnole, you’ll need:

  • 1 ounce of clarified butter
  • 1 ounce of all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups of beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • 1/4 cup of diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup of diced celery
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 3-4 fresh parsley stems
  • 7-8 whole black peppercorns

The cooking process:

  1. Fold the bay leaf, thyme, parsley stems, and peppercorns into a square of cheesecloth and tie the corners with kitchen twine. Leave one string long enough so that you can tie it to the handle of the pot to make it easier to take it out.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it becomes frothy.
  3. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Fry them for a few minutes until they are browned.
  4. With a wooden spoon, gradually stir the flour into the mixture until it’s fully incorporated and turns into a thick paste.
  5. Reduce the heat and cook the roux for about 5 more minutes until it starts to take on a very light brown color.
  6. Using a whisk, slowly add the stock and tomato puree to the roux, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps from forming.
  7. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and add the sachet with spices into the sauce. Simmer the sauce over low heat for about 50 minutes or until its total volume is reduced by about 1/3. Stir frequently so the sauce doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pot.
  8. Remove the sauce from the heat and take out the sachet. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully strain the sauce through a cheesecloth sieve.
5-Minute Crafts/Food/A Simple Definition of Roux, and What Sauces Are Based on It
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