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Old 01-07-2013, 03:42 AM   #1
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Question about making roux

I'll be trying out some cajun/creole dishes later this week, but I'm still deciding which recipes I'll be using. For the roux, I've seen an equal number of recipes call for butter and for oil. I'm wondering if I need to adjust the proportions of the fat and flour if I choose to substitute butter for oil or vise versa. Also appreciate any tips from anyone who has made it before :)

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:10 AM   #2
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Welcome to DC Patra. Roux can be made with about any fat or combination of fats. I often use butter and olive oil. Sometimes bacon fat is used specifically in cajun dishes.

The important thing to remember is to use a 1:1 ratio of fat to flour. Turn the heat to medium / medium low and stir constantly. Keep cooking until the roux is the color that you want...nutty brown.

.40
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:19 AM   #3
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I think it depends on your taste. I like my cajun food very light, (country style), so I use Pure Vegetable Oil.

To me, butter/bacon/ olive oil imparts too strong a flavor.

as .40 said, 1:1 ratio, then I stir mine to med. dark color, think Milk Chocolat bar.

I let the roux cool a bit, the flour settles down and the oil floats..

if it looks like too much oil for you, then you just tilt the skillet, and spoon off some of the oil.

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Old 01-07-2013, 08:01 AM   #4
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I am an 'Escoffier' 'true believer' when it comes to pretty much anything to do with stocks/sauces/rouxs. I have made roux other ways in the past but a few years ago I decided to 'follow the culinary 'bible' IMO.
Here's the secret to making a classic guaranteed perfect roux every time: Six parts flour and five parts CLARIFIED butter. Combine and gently cook until the roux has reached a 'sandy texture'. Make absolutely sure the roux has cooled (refrigerate) before adding any liquid to it. When you do add the liquid make sure you add it all at once. Do not 'drizzle' it in. As the liquid is added stir stir stir over medium heat.
Recapping: Note the amount of flour is slightly greater than the amount of clarified butter. Without using this ratio you'll end up with an oily roux. Clarified butter must be used b/c you do not want any milk solids as this will change the texture/taste of the roux. Hot liquid to cold roux and all the liquid added at once. If you drizzle in the liquid the first amount will be absorbed by the roux leaving the rest of the liquid 'rouxless' to an extent. You want the roux to be consistently present in all the liquid.
Lastly if you are thinking of using anything other than clarified butter I wouldn't bother making the roux. It might resemble a roux but it will not be one in the 'classical' sense in dear old Escoffier's opinion.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puffin3 View Post
Lastly if you are thinking of using anything other than clarified butter I wouldn't bother making the roux. It might resemble a roux but it will not be one in the 'classical' sense in dear old Escoffier's opinion.
For classical cooking you gave good advice but I think most Cajuns would very surprised to find out that they do not make roux and they should not bother.

If you want to lower the calories brown your flour in the oven. Then add it to cold liquid and heat while stirring. It does not get as dark and is milder in flavor but works good in dishes where you use lighter roux (chicken gumbo).
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:51 AM   #6
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Welcome to DC! Roux was one of the first things we learned to do in home ec class. We did it with butter--equal portions butter to flour. And, we were taught to take the pan off the burner when adding the milk and to add warm milk. I've been making roux this way for almost 40 years. No lumps, no "paste" taste.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:58 AM   #7
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Yeah I get your point and thanks for pointing out I was only referring to a 'classical' roux.
Sometimes when people are just starting out cooking it's a good idea to steer them in the 'classic' direction for the basics. When they get the chemistry understood then working from that base they can be creative.
I love Cajun food BTW. :-)
My history in the kitchen was started in our family's Mennonite kitchen with all my aunts and cousins when I was probably just old enough to walk. We were taught the fundamentals in a very strict but loving way over the years. All us boys were included whether we liked it or not. I liked it. When I went out on my own I could cook anything. As I got into my twenties I went through a 'to hell with the basics!' in pretty well every part of my life including cooking. I disregarded the basics and cooked garbage meals for a few years. Then for whatever reason I returned to the basics and over many decades I've come to appreciate how gratifying cooking really beautiful tasty food can be and how important learning and using basic cooking techniques is for me.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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Roux is not complicated.

Make sure you use a 1:1 ratio of fat to flour.

You can use any type of fat you want to. Many Cajun dishes call for vegetable oil because of the neutral flavor and because it can stand up to the longer cooking time better than butter.

Make sure the roux is smooth before you whisk the liquid in vigorously.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:38 AM   #9
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Welcome to DC.

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Old 01-07-2013, 10:40 AM   #10
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Escoffier calls for 6 parts flour and 5 parts clarified butter. Thanks but I'll stay with his recipe.
It's not like he arbitrarily decided on these measurements. They were arrived at by frankly a whole lot better chefs' years of experience over many years than some others.
I'd like anyone here to post and explain why Escoffiers roux recipe is to be ignored/disregarded.
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