This Is Damaris Phillips' Hack For Quick, Flavorful Roux

A roux is basically culinary magic. The simple mixture typically contains a one-to-one ratio of oil or butter and flour, as AllRecipes explained. The process couldn't be simpler — you merely heat the oil or butter until it's nice and warm before whisking in your flour, allowing the two ingredients to combine into a paste-like consistency that gently bubbles and softly browns. A roux is incredibly versatile and can be used to thicken everything from stews to incredible sauces. It impacts both the texture and the taste, as a well-made roux contains subtle and slightly nutty toasted flavors that enhance any dish.

However, the challenging part of crafting a roux isn't the ingredients needed (those are simple) or the technique (also relatively simple) — it's the waiting. A roux takes time, and you'll often be left babysitting your pot, stirring the mixture as it bubbles and keeping an eye on it to ensure it doesn't get too brown. That's where Damaris Phillips' hack comes in. Phillips, who has been a judge on shows like "Beat Bobby Flay" and "Guy's Grocery Games," saw a contestant doing something with their roux once that totally changed the game for how she approaches the culinary staple.

Phillips' easy, hands-free roux

Phillips was judging an episode of a culinary competition show when she noticed a contestant who got creative when making their roux (via Insider). Instead of attending to the bubbling mixture on the stovetop, the contestant tossed it in the oven (presumably in an oven-safe pan) and allowed the heat to do all the hard work as they continued on with their recipe. As Phillips explained, "they got what would've been a dark roux pretty fast and without having to babysit. It was just toasted up in the oven."

Need a few more details before you decide to skip the stovetop process? Southern Kitchen has instructions for a baked roux that requires nothing more than flour, vegetable oil for the fat, a cast iron skillet, and some time in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. Saveur agreed, also advocating for anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours in a 350 degree oven. You'll want to keep an eye on the roux to judge the color —recipes like gumbo require a really dark roux, however if you're making something like Bechamel or cheese sauce, you may prefer a lighter variety.

The oven-baked roux process eliminates the need to hover by the stove stirring, and you're free to prep all the other components in your dish while your roux darkens — no wonder Phillips was so impressed by the hack!