I love roux. I love butter, flour, and the beautiful toasty thickening bonanza it becomes. However, I do realize that #1 - butter is expensive, #2 - butter is high in calories and fat, #3 - butter can burn badly and ruin an entire dish. Cream is also a high dollar item to have go bad in your fridge. So, I have been watching my Julia Child videos, and she gave a most valuable tip that is easy, cheap and healthy. Use rice. Take cooked rice and put it in a blender and add some water (just a couple of tablespoons for a cup) and blend until smooth. Then, add it to your soup, and voila, you now have a cream soup or a thickened gravy.
Today, I used leftover cooked brown rice and made a lovely, no lump beef gravy nice and thick.