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What You'll Need
These instructions are for an oil-based roux, a simple mixture of equal parts of flour and vegetable oil. Clarified butter is another option.
The roux can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
If you have your recipe and are making a gumbo or etouffee with the roux now, have all ingredients close at hand, the vegetables chopped and ready.
If making ahead, have a pyrex or metal bowl ready to receive the finished roux.
You will be busy whisking or stirring the roux for at least 15 to 20 minutes, so make sure there will be no distractions.
Materials and Ingredients Needed
- A heavy pan (cast iron or stainless steel, very clean)
- A long-handled spoon or whisk (we recommend a whisk)
- 1 cup of oil (such as peanut oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil)*
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (white or unbleached)
*You may also use unsalted or clarified butter in a roux. Unsalted would be fine for a blond roux but use clarified for a darker roux.
There are many ways to use a roux, from basic sauces using a light roux to wonderful etouffées and gumbos. This leftover turkey gumbo is made with a dark roux, while shrimp etouffée calls for a roux the color of peanut butter.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
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Heat the Oil
Put the oil in the heavy pan and place over medium heat. Watch the oil very carefully and heat just until it begins to smoke.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
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Add the Flour to the Oil
Once the oil begins to smoke, sprinkle a little of the flour over the oil and whisk to blend. Continue adding small amounts of flour and continue whisking.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
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When the roux reaches the blond stage, it will be a light golden brown and have a slightly nutty flavor and aroma. At this lighter stage, it has better thickening properties than a darker roux. Use it to thicken a stew or gravy.
If the roux begins to darken too quickly, turn the heat down and don't stop stirring. If at any time you see black specks, the roux has burned and you'll need to discard it and start over.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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The brown stage still has some thickening properties, but not as much as the lighter roux. It's the color of peanut butter and has a nutty aroma and flavor.
Use it at this stage for brown sauces or etouffee. It would also be very good in a gumbo or stew.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
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Dark Brown Roux
At this stage, the roux is a dark, reddish-brown. It is used more for its robust flavor than for its thickening properties. This makes a delicious hearty gumbo with okra or file powder for the thickening.
Either use the roux immediately for a recipe with your prepared ingredients or remove from the heat and transfer it to a stainless steel or pyrex bowl to keep it from darkening even more.
Once the roux has cooled, you can skim off any excess oil and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. The roux can be frozen for up to 6 months.