If you have ever read the phrase “ Start with a roux…” in recipe and been confused as to what that was, I am going to show you how easy it is to make one. A roux is just the base and thickening agent used to create cream sauces. It is made from equal parts fat (I prefer to use salted butter, but you can also use bacon grease or vegetable oil), and all-purpose flour.
(I told you it was simple)!
You can make an amazing assortment of sauces from this very basic recipe; pepper gravy, macaroni and cheese sauce, cream soup base, gumbo and more. You can make a larger batch and refrigerate to add to your sauces later but it is so simple I usually make it fresh each time and just add my additional ingredients to the pan for my recipe.
You will need:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add flour slowly and stir, using a whisk or wooden spoon, to combine.
Now, how long you cook it will depend on what you are going to use it for…
White (Bechamel) cook the roux until smooth, and the flour taste is gone, and it is still light in color.
Blonde- cook until lightly darker, this imparts a nice nutty flavor to dishes.
Brown – Such as you will use for gravy and darker sauces, you will cook until it is a caramel color, being careful to not allow it to burn.
You can then add liquids such as broth, or milk to create your sauce- stir in slowly to roux.
To make 4 cups of a basic cream sauce:
Whisk in roux made from 4 Tbsp. butter and 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour into 4 ½ cups of WHOLE milk. You don’t want to use a skim milk in this as the fat content will be too low for a quality sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. You can then fold in ANYTHING like:
1# frozen peas and 1/2 tsp dill week for creamed peas
6 oz diced chipped beef and a half a cup sherry/red wine for S.O.S.
- 1# frozen mixed veggies, diced cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast and 1.2 tsp majoram for creamy chicken vegetable dish – top with biscuits and bake!
- 16 oz shredded cheddar cheese, 1 tsp salt and white pepper*, 1.2 tsp garlic salt and 8-12 oz cooked macaroni noodles — top with bread crumbs and bake for mac ‘n cheese.
- For a black pepper gravy , the kind you would serve over biscuits or with country fried steak- whisk in salt and pepper to taste and about ½ lb. of cooked, crumbled sausage.
I hope you try this — it’s a very versatile and S-I-M-P-L-E base for cooking that really helps you skip that can of creamed “X” to start off a recipe. Less processed foods are always a good thing, and cheaper!