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I enjoy a dirty rice recipe that has you sauté onions, celery and green peppers in sausage grease and then add a tablespoon of flour. What does the flour do?

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  • What comes next in the recipe? Do you add some stock or other liquid? If you do, the flour will work as a thickener.
    – ElmerCat
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 20:49
  • @ElmerCat It's dirty rice, so you're pretty definitely adding rice and water to cook the rice with.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 21:20

1 Answer 1

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Fat + flour form a roux, the base for creamy/starchy soups and sauces.

You don't give details, but Cajun recipes often let the flour/fat mixture get rather dark, which will contribute more flavour while significantly reducing the binding properties, so I suppose this is the case here, too.

Rule of thumb: Lighter for thickening, darker for flavour.

The moment you add the liquid in your recipe, a sauce forms, which will then coat the rice and let the veggies and spices "stick" to it.

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    Also compared to actually making a roux separately, adding the flour to vegetables like that makes it easier to avoid lumps and get the flour evenly spread through everything, and saves you some extra steps,
    – Cascabel
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 18:39
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    A lot of times the roux is made in situ visa vi biscuits and gravy, where you add flour to the sausage crumbles. The flour gets toasted on the sausage with the fat from the pan, and then the milk is added which draws the toasted flour off the sausage to make the gravy and infuse the gravy with the sausage fat goodness. It's the same thing when you do this with the sauté, it infuses the gravy with more of the flavor when you toast the flour on an ingredient with the fat it was cooked in.
    – Escoce
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 16:51

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