Lumps and bumps and clumps better scurry, when I whisk them up in my slurry. Forgive me. I couldn’t resist, but knowing how to make a slurry may come in handy as you cook soups and sauces for your holiday meals.
A slurry is a mixture of a starch and a liquid stirred together until the starch dissolves. Slurries are added to sauces, soups, stews or any cooking liquid that you want to thicken up. Starches tend to form lumps when added to liquids. So combining them with a small amount of liquid to form a thin paste makes them easier to incorporate.
Water is the most commonly used liquid, though you can certainly substitute stock or any liquid that will complement your sauce. A slurry made with flour requires a longer cooking time to activate its thickening power and allow the raw flour taste to cook out. Cornstarch has twice the thickening power as flour and works almost immediately after heating.
Once your slurry is added to your food, you’ll need to heat your sauce or soup up in order to release your slurry’s thickening power. As soon as it’s reached the consistency you’re looking for, remove it from the heat. Overcooking your slurry can cause your sauce to lose its thickness and thin out.
If you make your slurry ahead of time, be sure to give it a whisk or stir before adding it to your food. If left unattended the starch will settle in lumps at the bottom of your bowl.