Growing up, my family ate a dish called, “Shit on a Shingle,” which simply consisted of creamed chipped beef on white toast. The first meal I made when I moved out on my own was SOS, substituting tuna for the beef, and that became a staple meal throughout my 20’s. I didn’t know it at the time, but that cream sauce was actually a roux.
Nowadays, nothing would bring me sliding into the kitchen like buttered popcorn, so guess my reaction when I came upon the Chef not popping my favorite snack. “Where’s the popcorn?” I asked, clapping my hands like a three year old. “It’s a roux for the stew,” he said, while he whisked away. “Say that again? Roux? It smells like popcorn! We’re not having popcorn for dinner?” I sighed. “This is a common roux and it smells like popcorn. It’s a thickening base for the delicious stew I’m making,” he laughed at the disappointment on my face.
So it appears there’s a lot of different roux, as Siri and I found out. White roux, cooking time 5 minutes, is used for mac & cheese, tuna casserole, and classic New England clam chowder soups. Blond roux, cooking time 20 minutes, is excellent for soups and stews, and creates the popcorn smell. Brown roux, cooking time 35 minutes, is a thicker version on blond roux and is common for gumbos, stews and chowders. And finally, there’s the Dark Brown roux, cooking time 45 minutes, is the thickest version and is seems more like a gravy. This last roux supposedly smells like chocolate!
Since I haven’t made a roux since my single lady days, I think I’ll swing by the store and pick me up some chipped beef. What aisle is chipped beef on?
Honey, it’s my turn to cook!