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A thickening and binding agent, of which there are several types:
Roux: a mixture of melted butter and flour. See Roux.
Beurre manie: a mixture of equal parts of butter and flour, mixed together at room temperature.
Starches: arrowroot, cornflour, potato flour and rice flour - all these thicken if diluted and gently mixed with a little cold water.
Egg yolks: these enrich and thicken, but have to be added away from direct heat, and never brought to a high temperature, or they will scramble.
Vegetable puree: a thick home-made vegetable puree, or a bought tomato puree, can be mixed with a little of the cooking liquid and used as a thickening agent.
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