Trick to a smooth sauce using a roux

I know this is a very basic question, but when I get a rotisserie chicken I often make a simple sauce with a roux and chicken broth and whatever flavoring because sometimes the chicken gets dry. What is the trick top getting it smooth? It’s always lumpy! I need to add that I have an induction cooktop and the small burners are in the back and it makes it hard to see what I’m doing! Thanks, His!

I have 2 “tricks”

  1. don’t add all the liquid at once, add maybe 1/3 and whisk (it will form a stiff paste), and another 1/3 and whisk, and then the final 1/3 and whisk. I find if I add it all at once I can get lumps as well.

  2. make sure your liquid is hot when you add it to your roux. I’m not sure why this helps, but it does seem to help too.

Full disclosure, I find if I follow step 1 (adding liquid more slowly) I can often skip tip 2. . . . . which also saves another dirty pan . . .

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Another great helper is Wondra flour in a can in the baking aisle. It’s kind of an instant flour, so to speak, so it dissolves into the liquid quickly and without lumps, as long as you’ve got that whisk going.

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I also have an induction range and my smaller burners are in the back. But I realized (by accident) that you don’t have to put a small pot on the back burner. You can put the small pot on the front big burners. Because of the way induction works, it will sense there is a pot on the burner, and will only heat up where the pot is sitting! No more trying to stretch across the whole stovetop to the back, to keep stirring, stirring, stirring. It’s so much easier since I came to that realization!

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The only place for lumps to come from is the flour. It is important to get the roux smooth (fat first, then flour, lots of whisking) before adding broth to form velouté. If there is too much fat in the broth that will also lead to an odd texture but I wouldn’t call that “lumpy.” Be sure to fully cook the roux before adding broth. I’ve had some trouble with salt so be careful if you use bouillon. I use Kitchen Basics ‘No Salt Added’ with good results. Salt, if you need any at all, goes in at the end.

I use ‘whisk’ as a verb, not a noun. I usually use a fork in a stainless steel pot or cast iron pan. When my only option is non-stick I use a wood or silicone spatula. With care you can get a lot of muscle into the roux and ultimately the velouté without making a mess.

My wife has bursitis and carpal tunnel so we tried a bunch of mechanical aids before she gave up and I became saucier. grin I only have some early arthritis but no pain, no gain. Getting older is not for the faint of heart.

Hope this helps.

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What Thimes said.

Mine yelled at me when I tried that, but it’s worth another shot!

Use a whisk and continuous motion in the pot until a smooth consistency is reached.

First step is add the flour to your melted fat a little at a time, Stir it in so that each bit absorbs the fat. Kepp adding flour a bit at a time until all the fat has been absorbed. Then stir a little more, keeping the mix from clumping. A little fat will seep our, add a little more flour to absorb. Now continue cooking the roux until your desired color is achieved. I usually use a light weight metal fork for this - it declumps the flour better than a wooden spoon or whisk during this process.

Once roux is ready add the liquid in small amounts, stirring constantly. Add broths first, dairy last. Don’t rush it. Each bit of flour has become a little bomb - the liquid helps open the flour bomb and if done slowly the fat/flour will be incorporated smoothly. Stop a little before you think you have added enough liquid. Let it cook - sometimes it loosens, sometimes it thickens at this point. Correct as needed. If too loose let it cook more. If in a rush a little cornstarch can be well mixed with a little warm broth. Add judiciously to the sauce.

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Place butter in a large glass measuring cup & put the flour on top. Nuke 30 seconds. Remove & whisk & nuke 30 seconds more. Add milk, stock, flavoring or whatever whisk & nuke for a couple mins. Continue heating & whisking until you reach a boil. This will boil over so use a big cup & watch it. If you’re making cheese sauce add the cheese after it boils or the sauce will break. Works for white sauce, bechamel etc and I never get lumps. I have two glass measuring cups, a 4 cup & an 8 cup which have rounded bottoms. I use them because no flour gets caught in the corners when I whisk. Putting the flour on top of the butter prevents the butter from exploding all over the inside of the microwave.

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Cook roux for about two minutes til nutty smelling. Then slide off the heat and gradually whisk in cold milk or broth. As much as you think you might need. Then back on ML and whisk whisk whisk. Smooth and velvety every time.

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