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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Beurre Manié

Say wha?  Not so much a recipe for a finished product as an aggravation-saving hint.  This something I'm convinced everyone should put in their freezer stash if any stews, sauces or gravies are in their future.  It's not hard to cook a roux-based sauce at all, and truly getting out a tbsp or two of butter and flour to start a sauce isn't all that hard either, but due to counter space restrictions, flour lives in my pantry which is a toddler-free zone which in turn means a Royal Cage Match with the aforementioned toddler every time I want to get it out and put it back.  Not worth it for 1 tbsp of flour, know what I mean?

This is THE thickener of French cuisine (and also of cheese sauce and turkey giblet gravy...very important).  Beurre manié is a combination of flour and butter, and is used to thicken a finished stew, cooked briefly to start a sauce or cooked a long time to form a flavoring agent in Cajun cooking. 

Most recipes call for equal parts butter and flour, which is perfectly fine by me, though I do think you can go as high as a 2 -to-3 ratio of butter to flour and still be fine if you want to cut out a little fat. 
Beurre Manié
Makes 8 portions (each corresponds to 1 tbsp flour called for in a recipe)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Combine well using a pastry cutter, food processor or mixer. 

Roll into a log and cut into 8 portions.
Freeze on a cookie sheet and put into a zip-top bag.

Lower-fat Beurre Manié
Makes 12 portions (each corresponds to 1 tbsp flour called for in a recipe)

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Same procedure as above.

How do you use this?  Where a recipe says, "Melt X tbsp of butter and whisk in X tbsp flour", use 1 portion of this mixture for each tbsp of flour called for.  An example:

Cheese Sauce
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour


2 portions of frozen beurre manié

1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter over medium heat and whisk in flour, or stir beurre manié until melted and well-incorporated.  Cook 1 minute.  Whisk in milk slowly to avoid lumps.  Raise heat to medium-high until bubbles start to appear.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5-7 minutes, until thickened.  Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pin It

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