The roux is a primary component in a number of cajun and creole creations.
There are 3 basic varieties of roux- light, medium and dark. Some recipes, such as my Louisiana Gumbo, call for a light roux while others, like shrimp or crawfish etouffee, fare better with the darker version. Of course, it’s all a matter of personal taste – feel free to make alterations anyway you wish. After all, that’s where the fun is.
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil or 5 sticks of butter
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Using a large iron skillet or heavy pot, heat the oil or butter until a trace of smoke begins to appear. Using a whisk, slowly add flour while constantly whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the mixtures becomes thick and smooth, keeping the heat level under control. Too much heat will result in specks appearing in the roux which means it is burned and you must start from the beginning. Cook to the desired degree of darkness, using a wooden spoon to incorporate all ingredients in the pan. Use a small amount of water at times to keep the consistency even throughout this process, though this technique is not usually mentioned by any of the top culinary aficionados. Sometimes it is necessary to move the skillet to and from the burner to control the heat level. Gas flame burners are the optimum cooking choice as electric burners tend to be more difficult to control. This process can be rather tedious and may lead the creator to wish that they had three additional hands – or more.
The length of cooking time determines the color, texture and flavor of the roux:
- A light brown variety requires cooking over medium heat until reaching the color of peanut butter, usually 15 to 20 minutes.
- For a medium brown Roux, cook over medium heat for another 10 to 15 minutes until the roux acquires a copper coloring.
- The dark brown version requires up to 30 or more minutes before achieving a dark, chocolate-like texture indicating that it is ready.
Creates about 3 cups.
Making a roux is a rather “labor intensive” feat but well worth the effort, as unused portions can be refrigerated or frozen for later usage.