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How to Make a Roux

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A roux is an excellent way to thicken sauces and soups. Simply made from equal parts of fat and an flour, it can be used to achieve a variety of effects based on how long it is cooked and what type of fat you use.
What you'll need: 
some type of fat: oil, butter, clarified butter or lard
flour
1: 
Heat your fat in a heavy bottomed pot or frying pan over medium/medium low heat.
2: 
Add an equal amount of flour to the amount of fat used. Stir constantly as the flour fries in the fat.
3: 
Continue to stir and cook the flour until the desired colour is reached, and then whisk quickly into the liquid that you want to thicken to avoid lumps.
Conclusion: 
A roux differs greatly based on how long it is cooked. If you are using a recipe, it will usually tell you what colour of roux to make to achieve the right effect. It can be cooked for as little as 4 minutes or so to create a white roux, which has lots of thickening power, or up to 40-50 minutes or more to make a very dark roux, which will not thicken as much but will add an amazing toasty flavour to the finished product. A white roux is commonly used in bechamel sauce, for example, while a dark or "chocolate" roux would be used to make gumbo.
Tips: 
Make sure to keep stirring, especially when making a dark roux, as it can easily burn if left unattended

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