Friday, October 25, 2013

Gluten Free Roux and White Sauce

One of my very first posts on this blog was how to make a roux and a white sauce.  It's such a basic thing to know in cooking if you want to really cook rather than just open cans of cream soup and dump it in a casserole dish with a few other basic ingredients.  I make a roux or a white sauce at least once a week.  In my original post I wrote that a basic white sauce is only 3 ingredients - butter or oil. flour, and milk (or cream).  It's super simple and extraordinarily inexpensive.  Once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder why you ever bothered with processed ingredients.

When I went gluten free in January, I thought I would have to find another way to cook.  It turns out, though, that making a roux and white sauce with gluten free flours is just as easy.  There was a little trial and error.  I used too much starch one night and turned my shrimp etouffee into a gluey mess.  I also managed to thicken a chicken and wild rice chowder into wallpaper paste.  But I finally got the hang of using gluten free flours.

While I have tried Bob's Red Mill All Purpose flour blend for roux and white sauce, I really prefer using a 50/50 mix of white rice and brown rice flour with no added starch to it.  A regular roux calls for 1/4 cup butter or oil and 1/4 cup all purpose flour.  I've found that with a rice flour roux, cutting the flour just a touch to 3 1/2 tablespoons or a scant 1/4 cup works best for me.  It's much easier to thicken slightly if needed than to thin it.  If you're hoping to make a dark roux, gluten free flours don't generally darken as much as wheat flours, but I've had success getting it fairly dark.  Sometimes it helps to let the butter brown just a touch (which has the added benefit of a deeper flavor too).

Here are some of my favorite recipes that call for roux or a white sauce:

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