The Combo Emeril Lagasse Says Is Key To A Great Roux

So many classic dishes begin with a roux. Macaroni and cheese begins with roux as does the gravy for your favorite biscuits and gravy duo. But what exactly is a roux? Food Network explains that a roux is a blend of flour and fat, which is generally in the form of butter or oil. A roux helps thicken sauces and can also make some of your favorite recipes pretty darn tasty.

AllRecipes shares that there are four different types of roux and each type is associated with a color and a cooking time. The color of your roux matters. A white roux requires the least amount of time on the stove, followed by a blond roux. They go on to say these two types of roux are generally used for soups and delicate pasta dishes. A brown or dark brown roux will have you slaving over the stove longer, but AllRecipes notes they also give you the biggest punch of flavor for your taste buds.

What makes a good roux? Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse has a few thoughts on this matter. In fact, Lagasse says there is a magical combo that you need to use every time if you want to create a great roux.

The keys to a good roux

Emeril Lagasse says in an instructional Instagram video for making gumbo that there are two things you need to create a good roux. 

The first starts with heat. Lagasse says you want to start your heat above medium, but do not turn it too high or you might burn it. The next item that is crucial for a great roux is a good wooden spoon. Why a wooden spoon over a whisk like that which Addie Martin, a Cajun culinary history author, shared with that she likes to use? New Hampshire Bowl and Board explains that a wooden spoon is good to use for cooking in general because it doesn't conduct heat, nor does it change the cooking temperature by absorbing heat.

Lagasse uses vegetable oil to make his roux. He explains that when it comes to flour, you can always add, but you can't take it away. If it's a little thin, you can incorporate a little more flour. But if you detect a sheen, it means your roux is too loose and needs more flour. Lagasse says that, in general, you should wind up using a 50:50 ratio of oil to flour. 

How long does it take for the perfect roux to cook? Lagasse has a very scientific answer: Two beers.