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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Best Way to Thicken Sauces and Gravies

For some people gravy comes out of a foil envelope. That is ok and even I will use them in pinch. However, if you have never made gravy or sauces from scratch here are some things you need to know.
Roux – this is the best way I know to make outstanding gravy and sauces.  This is very simply half flour half butter.  As a rule of thumb, I use three tablespoons of flour with three tablespoons of butter.  You can use other fats, butter just tastes better. Melt the butter with the flour in the pan that you will use to make the sauce.  It is necessary to cook the flour so that it does not have a raw taste. Depending on the recipe, the roux will be blond for white sauces, tan for stews or other dishes and darker for Gumbo. The longer you cook the Roux the darker it gets. Cook over a medium to low heat so you can stop the cooking when desired. The darker the roux the less thickening affect it will have.  Your liquid need not be scorching hot. Just whisk as you add it to the roux so that the starch and fat that are happy as roux will melt into your dish. If your liquid is too hot it may cause some lumps – the same is true if it is too cold.  Try it! You will find that gravies and sauces made with a good roux have a great velvety texture. 

Thanks to Steve from Las Vegas who sent in this question.  Tomorrow I will cover different types and methods of thickening.   (By the way I have added the ability to follow this blog on social media and email and a link to my book.  Scroll down to see those links.)

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