The Roux – A Restaurant Secret You Won’t Want To Live Without!
One of the things that people love about really good restaurants are their sauces and gravies, and it is something many people are just never able to properly master at home.
From cream gravy to rich brown gravy for roast beef and red skinned potatoes, turkey gravy and mushroom gravy to cheese sauce or cream sauce, there is one secret that makes making these gravies and sauces much easier.
In fact, it is one of the first essential skills any chef learns – the Roux!
The problem with the way most people make gravy at home is in adding the flour to thicken the gravy. We all know Aunt Ida’s gravy is so lumpy it looks like she dumped gravel in it. This is because traditionally you spoon the gravy into the stock or milk, which already has the grease, drippings or butter melted into it and stir it around the distribute the gravy.
This causes the flour to clump up, and that is what makes lumpy gravy. Fortunately, with the secret of Roux you will never have to have lumpy gravy again unless you want to!
A roux is a gravy base of butter or grease and flour. Start by heating your butter or grease up in a small stainless steel pan. For enough of any style gravy to feed 4 to 6 people, and depending on taste you will want to use 3 to 4 tablespoons of butter or the equivalent amount of grease and about 900 to 1000 grams of the base.
The next step is the same for almost all gravies; the only difference is the stock that you use. For cream gravy it would be milk, for chicken or turkey gravy chicken stock, beef stock for brown gravy.
No matter what your base is heat enough for our 4 – 6 people. This is usually around 900 to 1000 grams; in other words, a midsized box of whatever stock you prefer or about a quart of milk. Before you begin making the roux, heat your base stock or milk up to just below boiling and allow it to set.
For the roux, heat the butter or grease up in the pan until it is completely melted and has started to bubble lightly. Add about a third of a cup of flour slowly, whisking as you go. The flour should absorb all the way into the butter, and as you whisk it should take on a creamy consistency.
If it gets to thick, add a bit more butter. The goal is to get a nice, creamy consistency that is not to thin, but thin enough to be creamy.
Some people allow the roux to cook for a bit in the frying pan so that the color will darken, especially for brown gravy but that is a matter of taste.
Once the roux is ready, use a spatula to scrape it out of the stainless steel frying pan and into the heated base stock.
Begin stirring the base stock, and increase the heat slightly until the gravy comes to a boil.
It will still look very thin at this point – from here, you will reduce the heat till the gravy is still at a simmer, stirring and checking consistency. Personally, I like my gravy a little thin, but there is no right or wrong way here. It is all a matter of taste.
It will usually take a half hour to an hour of simmering to reach the perfect consistency, and because of the roux you need never have lumpy gravy again!
j. Pinot enjoys writing, cooking and gardening and wants someday to sample the restuarants in Bexleyheath for a refreshing night out! He has been making sauces and gravies for over twenty years.