Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Roux, roux, roux you (gravy) boat....

What? Roux (pronounced rew, rhymes with dew)is the simplest of food mixtures, just flour and oil, but performs the most intricate of functions. Roux is the traditional thickener of classic sauces. So what makes this old reliable? It is it’s reliability. It rarely ever fails and can be made ahead of time. The oil is heated in a shallow saute pan and flour is added to achieve the consistency of “wet sand”, approximately even amounts of each. Mix the flour into the oil and stir to remove all of the lumps and continue to cook. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes to cook the flour flavor out of the mixture. Remove from the heat and the saute pan into a bowl or crock and you can set on a shelf. It will not go bad without refrigeration, it is only flour and oil. I have left it in my cupboard for months at a time and it never goes bad.

So what do you do with it? You use this to thicken anything from gravy to sauces to stew. It won’t “break” or fail to thicken like corn starch. Making that Thanksgiving gravy? Substitute the turkey fat from the drippings for the oil and add just water (or stock would be better) and have a great turkey gravy. Making stew and want it a bit thicker? Add a little roux until you get the thickness you want. This is a vital ingredient to make all kinds of sauces. Most of the major sauces are made by adding roux to a stock or liquid.

This is traditionally used in cajun cooking, only the roux is cooked until it has almost reached the point of burning, called black roux.

So stop buying that junk in the jar and make your own gravy. It’s so simple you will kick yourself for not doing it sooner.

Chef Cheapo, making your gravy what they’ll talk about until next Thanksgiving.

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