A Roux Lesson
First Ya Make A Roux
It’s true, most Cajun dishes start with a roux. The browned flour in fat is what gives dishes like gumbos, and stews their unique taste and texture. Some of you I know have had difficulty in attempting to make this basic ingredient, but it’s really easy. All you need is a little instruction, some patience, and about 30 minutes of time. I’ll show you how!
As we go through these instructions I’ve added a few recipes that are highlighted for the appropriate kind of roux. Just give them a click to navigate yourself through the blog to the recipe. Check them out and give them a try.
Now, are you ready?
First, put some comfortable shoes on or don’t wear any at all. Wrap an apron around you, turn the TV and your phone off, and don’t answer the door. Put on some easy listening music of your choice and tell the family and the dog you will be inaccessible for the next half hour. They won’t die.
Grab a thick pot and a long-handled spoon.
Now, measure the oil and flour using a 1:1 ratio of the ingredients. Add the oil first and let it get hot on a medium to medium-high heat before adding the flour. This helps shorten the time by getting the flour off to a good start.
Now, stir-stir-stir and don’t stop!
Notice how the roux begins to thicken and slowly darken. It will also begin giving off a distinct nutty aroma. I can remember as a child how this smell would permeate our home. Whether I was playing in my room or walking up the driveway toward the house, I could always tell when a good meal was in the works. I find this scent just as enticing as it fills my home when making these same dishes for my family today.
A Fitting Roux
The above picture is considered a light roux which is good for an etouffee, To Etouffée Is To Smother.
Another good dish for this shade is Chicken Fricassee With Dumplings, A Rustic Stew.
For a darker roux just keep stirring. You may want to adjust the heat to your pot.
If you see little black specks that means the roux has gotten too hot too fast and you burned it. That’s ok, just throw it out, clean the pot and start over. It happens to the best of us!
For Seafood Gumbo, you want a darker roux like this:
A darker roux makes a thinner sauce and the taste is more intense, very fitting for a seafood gumbo.Print
“First, ya make a roux…,” are the famous words usually spoken when describing these classic Cajun dishes such as a gumbo, stew, or etouffee. This simple recipe shows beginners that with a little practice and patience just how easy making a roux can be.
- Cook Time: 15-30 minutes
- Total Time: 15-30 minutes
1 part cooking oil
1 part all-purpose flour
Use a thick pot such as a dutch oven and set it on the stove over a medium to medium-high heat.
Pour the oil into the pot and heat oil until it’s hot. This gives the flour a head start for browning.
Add the flour to the pot of hot oil and stir with a long-handled spoon until the roux is the color you desire.
The different colors of the roux are used for different dishes. You can use a light roux for an etouffee or stew, a medium roux for a chicken gumbo, and a dark one is appropriate for a seafood gumbo.
Do not allow dark spots to form. This happens when the roux is burning.
Add the vegetables or other ingredients immediately after the desired color is reached in order to stop the cooking process.
Use a low or medium heat when first learning how to make a roux. Start off slow.
Roux making takes time and experience, so be patient.
Don’t stop stirring until the roux is done.
Be careful as you stir to not splash hot roux on yourself.
Ingredients of 3/4 cup each of oil and flour are enough for a chicken gumbo using 1 chicken and 1 cup of flour and oil are sufficient for a seafood gumbo.
You can make roux ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for a few months.
If you burn the roux, throw it out, clean the pot and start over.
See how easy it is? Soon you’ll be saying, “First, ya make a roux…,” before you know it.
Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.