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Roux is a thick base borrowed from the French and is used for sauces, soups, and casseroles. There are two basic steps to creating and working with it. Knowledge of the roux can turn a cook with basic knowledge into one who can improvise dishes with ease.

The ingredients begin with butter or oil and flour.

Step 1

Melt butter or oil over medium heat. When hot, add an equal amount of flour. For a sauce, the proportions will be one or two tablespoons of each; if making gumbo, 1/4 cup of each. The trick here is to stir constantly. Never let a roux burn. For browner sauces, as in gumbo, stir for as long as 15 minutes. For cream sauces or sauce for a casserole, stir just a couple of minutes. At this point add garlic or onion for flavor if desired.

Step 2

Add cream, milk or broth, or a combination. For a sauce, add 1 cup if the roux was 1 tablespoon butter or oil and flour. The liquids will work best at room temperature or warmer. Add liquids in three parts, stirring as it gets thicker. Turn the heat down slightly. Cook over medium heat approximately five minutes or until desired consistency.

At this point add:

For sauces: seasonings, minced vegetables
For soups: seasonings, meat, diced vegetables
For casseroles: seasonings, cooked chopped meat, chopped vegetables, cheese, cooked rice or noodles