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healthier ways to make a rue/thicken sauces??

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I'm starting to think that there HAS to be a better option when thickening sauces than using butter and flour... any ideas? I thought of maybe adding some sort of puree, but I'm sure that those who are more experienced in the kitchen will have more interesting/much better ideas, haha. thanks so much! i'm making pork chops with mushroom sauce and brown rice tonight- yum!
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any starch will do a good job.  i use just a couple teaspoons of arrowroot.  but you could also blend up cooked vegetables like carrots or potatoes or turnips or cauliflower or butternut squash.  if you simmer away the water, what you're left w/is thickened.  and obviously a roasted veg or baked potato will taste much better than if you just boil/microwave it.

also, adding a touch of parmesan at the end helps.

i find I just use less oil and more flour if I am making a "cream sauce". Another trick is to use corn starch, but make sure to mix it with cold liquid before putting it into hot ones.
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Does arrowroot work well? I tried using it once and it just wasn't happening...
whole wheat flour and olive oil may work out for you
You can eliminate the butter altogether by wisking the flour and milk together before adding it to the pan.  It'll thicken just fine without it.

I've also used instant potatoes to thicken cream soups.
I use cornstarch.  Mix it with a little of the cold liquid you want to thicken and whisk it in, then bring it up to the boiling point until it gets thick.  Works on almost anything, but watch out if it's a sauce made with skim milk, because the milk tends to curdle when boiled.  I find that evaporated skim milk, undiluted, is a substitute for cream, and it doesn't curdle.
For simple thickening I agree that any of these solutions will work.  For recipes really requiring a good roux though, like gumbo, the roux adds flavor and color as well as just acting as a thickening agent.  The best cutback I've been able to find in that case is the wheat flour with olive oil, and even that is not perfect. If you do choose that method, just remember that the color it turns will be slightly more brown and less red than with white flour, and be aware that it goes from perfect to overdone quickly - and nothing smells worse than a burnt roux!
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