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Roux

From Academic Kids

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Roux is a mixture of wheat flour and fat. It is the basis of three of the five mother sauces of classical French cooking: Sauce béchamel, Sauce velouté, and Sauce Espagnole. Butter, vegetable-based oils, or lard are common fats used. It is used as a base for gravy, other sauces, Souffles, soups and stews.

The mixture is cooked by stirring over heat in a pot or pan. The fat is heated first, in the process melting it if necessary, then the flour is added, the mixture is stirred until the flour is incorporated and then cooked until at least the point where a raw flour taste is no longer apparent. The end result is a thickening and flavoring agent. The final results can range from the nearly white to the nearly black, depending on the length of time it is over the heat, and its intended use.

Roux are most often made with butter as the fat base. However, they may be made with any edible fat. In the case of meat gravies, they are often made with rendered fat from the meat. In traditional American cookery, bacon is sometimes fried to produce fat to use in the roux.

When combining roux with the water-based liquids, such as broth or milk, it is important that these liquids be added very hot and in small quantities to the roux while stirring, to ensure proper mixing. Otherwise, the mixture will be very lumpy, not homogeneous, and not properly thickened.

Light roux provide little flavor other than a characteristic richness to a dish, and are used in French cooking and some gravies or pastries throughout the world. Darker roux, sometimes referred to as "blond", "peanut-butter", or "chocolate" roux depending on the color achieved, add a distinct nutty flavor to a dish, are often made with vegetable oils, as oil has a higher burning point than butter, and are used in Cajun and Creole cuisine for gumbos and stews.

Preparation of a light roux is rather simple; there is a danger of burning a dark roux, especially if it is attempted over high heat. For the novice cook, pre-made dark roux is available by mail-order and at supermarkets and specialty food stores in some areas.

As an alternative to making a roux, which is high in fat and very energy-dense, to flavor gumbo, some Creole chefs have been experimenting with toasting flour without oil in a hot pan. The results are comparable, but this is a rather difficult technique. A slurry of cold water and corn starch when added at the end of cooking can also thicken like a roux, but does not "enrich" the taste.

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External links

Roux recipe with photo at RealCajunRecipes.com (http://www.realcajunrecipes.com/recipes/44.rcr)es:Roux de:Mehlschwitze

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