It’s surprising how easy it is to make delicious sauces rather then buying the stuff in jars. There are also a lot more options of sauces that you can make with a roux.
A roux, also called panada, is the base of most sauces, gravies, soups and stews. This thickening agent is largely associated with French cooking although it is used in many different cuisines. Simply, it is a mixture of flour and butter in a hot pan.
How to make it
Melt the butter and then add the flour. The important thing is to keep stirring. A roux will change color from light gold to brown very quickly. You also have to keep stirring so it’s evenly mixed and creamy. I use the proportion of 1 tablespoon of butter to 1 tablespoon flour. Different recipes may call for different proportions based on the desired texture of the sauce.
What to watch out for
You get variation in the sauce from manipulating the proportion of flour in relation to butter, how long you cook them and what you add. If you want a thicker sauce, add a bit more flour; for a thinner sauce, less flour. The best way to tell how long a roux has been cooking for is by its color. Roux quickly turns to light gold or light brown color when it is ready to use. But depending on what you are trying to make and your preference, you may want to let it turn a darker color.
Mix it up
To make a delicious white sauce, like alfredo, let the roux turn a light brown color on low heat and add one cup of milk, increase the heat to medium high and stir continuously. For a true alfredo, add salt, pepper and nutmeg. For a sauce with more cajun flare, let the roux darken and then add diced onions, garlic and Creole seasoning.
A few days ago, I got some pierogies from Safeway. Pierogies are like Polish ravioli and are usually filled with cheese and potatoes. To go with them, I made a tasty mustard sauce. For the whole box, I melted 2 tablespoons of butter and added 2 tablespoons of flour and stirred until it turned very light brown. Then I added a spoonful of Dijon mustard. To make it a bit creamier, add a tiny bit of milk. Enjoy!