Thursday, March 4, 2010

10 Minute Quick Microwave General Purpose Roux

Easy, Quick Microwave General Purpose Roux

10 Minute Quick Microwave General Purpose Roux

You can make a roux in the microwave. Oh yes you can! It's faster than the oven, and it's easier than the stove top. And, I'm gonna show you how!!

I've got a recipe coming for you tomorrow that uses a roux, so I thought it would be a great time to introduce you to a super easy method of making a roux.

Of course, I have made plenty of light to medium roux bases on the stovetop, but making a rich, dark roux on top of the stove has always been a challenge for me. It's just a downright hot process standing there and stirring and it's frankly boring, and there are more than a few times that I have burned the roux, getting impatient with how long it was taking and turning up the heat too high to try to move it along, but way more times than that, I have burned myself.

Those unkind pops of oil that land on your hand are not at all pleasant!

And then I discovered, thanks to my pal Alton Brown's Good Eats show, that you could easily do a very dark and flavorful roux in the oven.

For me at least, that was revolutionary, I tell ya! But, even still, it took time. Precious time.

Then, more recently, I heard somebody mention making roux in a microwave and of course y'all know that I was all over that!

Now, I admit, the idea about combining hot oil with a microwave made me a bit leery. Oh who am I kidding... the thought of it scared me to death. Sort of like that pressure cooker thing. But I went for it and boy am I glad that I did.

Now, a few things before we even get started.

There are rules.

Just like oven cooking times vary because ovens are different, heat different and if your oven is anything like mine, it's just downright old, and isn't all too accurate anymore ... microwaves also vary in cooking times.

I don't care whose recipe you use, times in recipes are always estimates, so like anything else to cook or bake, watch your roux until you do this enough to know how it will work out in your own microwave. It took me about 10 minutes to get to a roux - not counting the option of cooking the veggies in it of course - but your time may vary some, more or even less.

This produces a nice, general purpose roux, and it really made a super fast and easy job of making it so I am totally sold.

This is perfect for those nights you'd like to whip up a quick gumbo after work, or just generally want to speed things up a bit when you need a roux. And really, if you don't mind spending a little extra money, you can buy the roux veggies already chopped up for you in the freezer or fresh produce section of your market, saving you even more time.

Again, there are rules.

Proceed with caution, being mindful that you are dealing with very hot oil in this process - use oven mitts and pot holders and take extra care with handling the hot container.

This is a good basic roux for gumbo or stew, and a perfect way to get a gumbo on the table fast for dinner, so definitely follow the practice of mise en place here - making sure that not only do you have everything you need for the entire gumbo or stew recipe, but also that you prep and gather it all in one place before you start - so get those veggies chopped and ready to go before you start the roux! 

You will also want to heat up the stock and/or water that you are using as your gumbo or stew liquid.

This recipe is good for about 2 gallons of gumbo liquid, more or less, depending on how thick you like it.

It's also great to make ahead, cool and put up in the fridge, to have on hand anytime you need roux.  Just bring the amount needed up to room temperature before using.

Simple. Easy. And fast!

Combine 3/4 cup of canola or vegetable oil with 1 cup of all purpose flour in a large, 4 cup Pyrex microwavable measuring dish. This will get extremely hot and I can only recommend a  Pyrex brand 4 cup or larger measure that can hold up to the heat for this.

Whisk together until smooth.  Mixture will look sort of like a thin condensed milk.

Microwave on high for 3 minutes; remove and stir. Microwave another 3 to 4 minutes, stopping and stirring several times in between, continuing until it reaches a caramel color. Total time will actually be dependent on your microwave, but generally it takes about 10 minutes to get to this point.  At this step you can set the roux aside to cool and then transfer it to a glass Mason jar and store it in the refrigerator.

The roux will darken further as it sits.

You can also freeze the cooled roux in ice trays in one tablespoon measures. Once frozen, pop them out and store in a freezer bag for anytime you need a few tablespoons of roux. Bring refrigerated stored roux up to room temperature before using.

If you are going straight into making a gumbo or stew using The Trinity and/or other veggies, then move on to the next step if you would like to flavor your roux with vegetables. You'll want to have warmed stock, according to the recipe you are using.

Add in chopped veggies according to the recipe you are using. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir and microwave for 1-2 minutes longer.

Add in chopped green onion and garlic, if using, and microwave for another 2 minutes.

Stir well, then add in some of the warmed stock into the roux/veggie mixture a little at a time, combining well after each addition. Fill it up to the 4 cup measure.

Slowly combine the veggie mixture with the remaining warmed stock until it reaches the desired consistency; proceed with your recipe.

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Posted by on January 3, 2013

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