Great Sauces Always Start With Roux

RSS Author RSS     Views:N/A
Bookmark and Share          Republish
Great sauces can save a badly cooked piece of chicken. However, a bad sauce will ruin the best cooked meal. Being able to consistently create flavorful and smooth sauces is one of the best skills to have in the home kitchen.

When you can make a variety of sauces, you multiply the number of meals you can create. A grilled chicken breast is an entirely different dish with a white cheese sauce over it than a dark Cajun spicy sauce. Itís still a chicken breast, but now itís two different meals.

Sauces are simple. Theyíre just a liquid plus a thickening agent. The liquid adds flavor, but the thickening agent gives body and texture. Roux is not the only way to thicken a liquid, but it is the most flavorful and reliable.

Iíll admit that great sauces can also be made with a cornstarch slurry, or by simple reduction. Those are two other ways to thicken liquid, but a well made roux adds flavor and texture that these two options do not.

Roux is the combination of fat and starch. You can experiment with a wide variety of fat starch combinations, but generally butter and flour are used. To make a standard roux, use equal proportions. For a thicker roux, add more flour. This will have more thickening power, but might not be as smooth in the end.

Making Roux for Great Sauces:

1) Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Be careful not to burn or separate the butter. The goal is to keep the butter yellow, and not see white milk solids floating on the top. This means youíve broken the emulsion of fat/milk solids/water that butter is made of.

The best thing for melting butter is melted butter. As soon as some of the butter melts under the heat, remove the pan and surround the solid butter with the melted butter. Agitate the pan to add friction, and even return it to the flame for 5 seconds if you need more heat. But, try to keep it yellow.

2) Add flour - In small increments, add flour to the melted butter until you have something that looks like wallpaper paste. Itís not too runny, and itís not like cookie dough. Whisk this together until itís smooth.

3) Cook the flour - In order to avoid a pasty-tasting sauce, the proteins must be cooked out of the flour to create a proper roux. Youíll notice that the roux changes from beige/yellow to white as the proteins are cooked. The roux will get bubbly and give off a nutty smell. When your fat/flour mixture is entirely white, without starting to turn brown, itís ready to thicken any liquid.

Great sauces await the roux you just made, and you can start right now or wait until later. However, thereís something important to remember.

When using roux to thicken liquids, the roux and liquid must be opposite ends of the temperature spectrum. If youíve just created this thickening agent and itís still hot, then a COLD liquid like broths or milk can be used to make a sauce.

If you have milk or broth simmering on the stove, itís a COLD roux that is needed to thicken the hot liquid. A cold roux is the roux you made yesterday and stored in the refrigerator. You simply crumble the cooked and chilled butter/flour mixture into the simmering liquid and you have instant gravy!

Once you can make a great roux, then the entire world of liquids will dictate the type of sauce you can create. This one method can be used as an inspiration for endless great sauces in your own kitchen.

See the chefís live cooking demonstration as he makes great sauces from roux.

Report this article
I am thrilled to be an E-zine Expert Author and have a number of articles published on a variety of cooking topics (and write new ones all the time!) Page down to see the entire list and click the ones that are helpful to you.

Before I became Chef Todd Mohr, I was Todd Mohr - a guy who liked to cook. A lot of people, including me, even thought I was a pretty good cook. For starters, I had my five meals, well, recipes, I suppose, that I could make well. Being a creative person, I also used some of the techniques from my tried and true \"recipes\" to experiment a bit with new dishes. Some were good and some not so good, and I usually never knew what the difference was.

Through a series of events, I decided to change careers in 1996 and pursue my passion for cooking, so I enrolled in Baltimore International Culinary College. 18 months later, I emerged: Chef Todd Mohr.

The greatest thing I learned in culinary school was the \"how\" and the \"why\" that had been missing from my cooking all those years. My recipes only gave me the \"what\" - which left so much out! The greatest thing I gained in the years after culinary school, was the practical experience from working in kitchens and experimenting at home. Being observant, I learned even more \"hows\" and \"whys\" in addition to \"whats\" along my culinary journey. This experience and experimentation, more than anything else, is what turned Todd Mohr into Chef Todd Mohr.

My experience includes kitchen experience - all the way up to Executive Chef, as well as college teaching experience, starting and operating a successful catering company and then finally, the culmination of all of my passion: opening The Cooking School in Cary NC in 2007.

From The Cooking School, came \"Cooking Coarse\", my daily video blog that quickly gained a loyal You Tube following due to the uniqueness of the instruction offered. It was through feedback received from \"Cooking Coarse\" viewers that I decided to launch and provide this information to the world.

When I started getting emails that my videos had changed people\'s lives, I knew I was on to something and that was when was born.

This is my passion - I am excited to share it with you!

Bookmark and Share

Ask a Question about this Article