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Jan 26, 2009 09:00 AM

butterless roux?

Is it possible to make a rue without butter, using olive oil for example? What about with a (heresy, I know) butter substitute such as Smart Start or the like? I'm asking because I'd like to know how to properly modify recipes with rue for the very colesterol-conscious.

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  1. never done it, but I suspect it would work.....all you really need is fat(or semi fat) and flour

    1. I make roux all the time at work with oil. In fact it is much more common to make a roux with oil in the restaurant industry.

      from wiki:
      "Roux (IPA: /ˈruː/) is a mixture of wheat flour and fat, traditionally clarified butter. It is the thickening agent of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: sauce béchamel, sauce velouté, and sauce espagnole. Butter, vegetable oils, or lard are common fats used. It is used as a thickener for gravy, other sauces, soups and stews. It is typically made equal parts of flour and fat by weight.[

      Roux is most often made with clarified butter as the fat base but it may be made with any edible fat. In the case of meat gravies, they are often made with rendered fat from the meat. In regional American cuisine, bacon is sometimes fried to produce fat to use in the roux. Vegetable oil is often used when producing dark roux as it does not burn at high temperatures like butter will.

      When combining roux with water-based liquids, such as broth or milk, it is important that these liquids are not excessively hot. It is preferable to add room temperature or warm liquid into a moderately hot or warm roux. They should be added in small quantities to the roux while stirring, to ensure proper mixing. Otherwise, the mixture will be very lumpy, not homogeneous, and not properly thickened.

      Cooks can cheat by adding a mixture of water and wheat flour to a dish which needs thickening since the heat of boiling water will release the starch from the flour, however this temperature is not high enough to eliminate the floury taste. A mixture of water and flour used in this way is colloquially known as "cowboy roux" and in modern cuisine it is called a white wash but is used infrequently since it imparts a flavor to the finished dish that a traditional haute cuisine chef would consider unacceptable. Cornflour can be used instead of wheat flour, as less is needed to thicken, and it imparts less of the raw flour taste."

      I hope that this helps!

      1. I actually made gumbo without any fat in the roux. I toasted the flour to get that flavor, and then mixed it with the sauteing veggies. It turned out great! And much healthier.

        This is the recipe for the gumbo. It explains the flour:

        1 Reply
        1. re: maslovma

          One of my favorite gumbos is a rouxless gumbo that you substitute the browned flour for. Nice thing is you can do a bunch in advance and store it for later use

        2. Yes, in much of Louisiana, oil is the standard fat for roux based dishes. There are some dishes where oil wouldn't quite give you a desirable flavor, but I imagine these wouldn't be on a cholesterol conscious diet anyway. (I'm thinking of bechamel for cheese sauce, etc.) Just think about what's going to be in the finished dish, and which oil's flavor would be most apppropriate--canola, olive, sesame, or nut or seed oils. I've even made bechamel with canola oil and fat free milk for my father, who's on a heart healthy diet. It's not the same, of course, but for someone on a special diet, it's a good alternative rather than not eating such foods at all.

          1. I would rue a butter-less roux, but once we get past the puns, yes one can make roux with any fat besides butter. In fact the dark roux preferred by Cajuns as the base of their gumbo requires oil to get to that color without scorching.

            I use olive oil for certain gravy roux, just be forewarned that olive oil's lower smoking-point requires a watchful eye to avoid burning the mixture.