How roux you do? Okay, you just had to know that there was gonna be a pun in here somehwere! This one in particular has been playing endlessly in my head for DAYS! It makes me giggle every time and felt compelled to subject you to it, too. Sorry, not sorry. And naturally it led to other lame kids jokes. Like, What does a nosey pepper do? Gets jalapeno business! BAM! Insta-funny. You’re welcome. Everything funny and cheesy has been compounded by me being utterly exhausted from last weekend’s trip to Austin for BlogHer Food Conference. I’m running on empty guys. No, past empty. It’s that funny stage of empty where your get-me-gas-now light comes on, but your little meter stick is hanging precariously below the E for Empty mark… Yeah, that’s me right now. But its been worth it. And you know what else is worth it? Roux. And a good roux can take a regular dish from drab to fab and learning how to make a roux is really easy. It can take a little while, but its a totally necessary step in so many great dishes.
Remember when we learned how to brown butter – and you had to keep a close eye on your simmering butter so it toasted and didn’t burn? Making a roux is a similar process. The butter and the flour mixture both have to brown – not burn. The butter solids and flour all get nice and toasty brown, but not black and gunky. Some rouxs can get to be a dark, deep rich chocolate brown and they are complex and utterly amazing. Depending on your dish, you can lightly toast your roux or almost-char it for whatever it is you’re making.
First off – you need two ingredients, butter and flour. Some use oil, again do what suits your dish and preferences. Oil will work just for soups and stews. I prefer butter and use it when I make pasta dishes like mac and cheese. Personal preference is what wins here.
For tools – A whisk and a skillet. Or a saucepan or pot. Whatever.
With your pan over medium heat, melt your butter and bring it to a slight simmer. You will want to whisk it so that it keeps moving constantly and doesn’t sit in one place for too long.
Slowly, start to whisk in the flour making sure that it has a chance to incorporate fully before adding more.
Keep whisking constantly and add the rest of your flour slowly until it becomes almost like a paste. Or at least like a thick soup, depending on your butter/flour ratio.
As you keep whisking it over heat, you will start to smell it and the butter starting to toast and brown. It will have a slightly nutty smell to it.
The longer it sits over the heat being whisked the darker brown it will get. Keep an eye on it for just the right color that will work for your. And when I saw brown – you can get it B.R.O.W.N. For Julie’s Chicken and Andouille Gumbo that stuff got dark, I mean look at it! Gumbo-y perfection.
The one I made today has a bit higher butter content, but it works beautifully for making stuff like drippy mac and cheese. Test out your favorite butter/oil and flour combo to see what works best for your needs.
Now you know how to roux. It’s like doing the Dougie, but better.
Find out other handy how-to’s here:
What can roux do for you? Check out these recipes below to see!
Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese – Country Cleaver
Chicken and Andouille Gumbo – Table for Two
Crab Mac n Cheese – Country Cleaver