A roux is simply flour and fat, typically equal parts by weight, cooked together and then used to thicken gravy, sauces, soups, and stews. The flour is slowly added to melted fat, including bacon drippings, butter, lard, and oils, in a pot or pan on the stove and blended until smooth. A roux is cooked to any desired level of color (brownness) and provides a base for a variety of dishes once complete, including pastries. Generally, the darker the roux, the deeper the flavor.
The fat most often used in French cuisine is butter, but you may find recipes calling for lard (Central Europe), vegetable oil and bacon fat (Cajun, Creole for gumbos and stews) in other cuisines. The importance of roux cannot be understated as it is used in three of the five classical French mother sauces: bechamel, espagnole, and veloute.
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