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What is a Beurre Manié?
Ever wonder how the French get their soups and sauces to such a thick, creamy state with a glossy sheen? Many parts of French cuisine can be hard to replicate but the secret to a creamy soup is so easy a child could do it. Simply prepare a beurre manié, French for "kneaded butter." It's similar to a roux in that its basic ingredients are just flour and butter but beurre manié isn't cooked. Instead, softened butter and flour are kneaded or mashed together until combined, then whisked into hot sauces or soups.
Flour is often used as a thickening agent in cooking but just adding flour to soup would cause large doughy lumps. The flour wouldn't spread easily and it would make the dish unappealing. Roux and beurre manié are both used to thicken soups without the flour clumping. Because the butter coats the flour it can be incorporated smoothly into your soup or sauce.Continue to 2 of 5 below.
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Flour and Butter
Use your beurre manié to thicken soups, stews, and sauces. Start with 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and 1 tablespoon of softened butter. It's best to just leave the butter out for an hour or so before you begin. Don't microwave the butter.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
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Work the butter and flour together by hand.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
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The beurre manié will be a sticky, slippery mess; continue kneading.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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The Messy Finished Product
It's not pretty, but once the flour is incorporated into the butter your beurre manié is done and ready to slip into stews, soups, and sauces. Be sure to continue to whisk your soup or sauce until the beurre manié has been completely mixed in. Gently simmer the liquid for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Once you can no longer taste the flour and the liquid has reached the desired thickness your soup or sauce is ready.
If this method is just too messy for you, you can also work the butter and flour together with spoons or a rolling pin. Others prefer to use a food processor, just make sure it doesn't run hot and cause the butter to start to liquefy.
Fortunately, you can freeze beurre manié for up to three months. As most recipes only call for a tablespoon or two of this ingredient at a time you can freeze whatever you don't use. It can also be made in large batches and frozen. However, it's important to allow the mixture to fully soften before adding it to a soup. We don't recommend adding frozen beurre manié to a hot dish.