Day 1: Making the roux.
Roux is the base of all things gumbo and some say it is what will make or break your gumbo. The weather is perfect and it is that time of year where everyone in New Orleans, Lafayette, and surrounding areas make one of the ultimate comfort food dish, gumbo. This will be a three part post to throw out any doubt anyone has about how to go about making gumbo. No more being intimidated, I’m going to show you step by step that making gumbo is a simple process and by no mends intimidating. So, here is day one, roux. Let’s get started!
Okay, you can do this.
Roux varies in color, time, and just about always ends with a worn out arm. Growing up my parents always made the deep peanut buttery color roux. I’ve seen gumbo as dark as a cast-iron skillet, but I tend to go for a deep brown because I love the nuttiness is brings to the final product. Till this day, once the nutty aroma starts to fill the air, I am transported back into my parent’s kitchen during the holidays.
Typically it goes, dark roux is for gumbo cooked with game such as duck, quail, and rabbit. I will never forget my time working at Emeril’s and the guys were making the roux. I have never seen roux made in that capacity. Blown away by the precision, the care and attention to detail. They cooked the roux in these extremely large square pans that hold roughly 42 quarts of product. In and out the oven it went, stirring often until the final color was achieved.
*Caution, roux can burn and taste bitter. Watch the heat. I was taught, instead of turning down the heat, just moved your skillet off the burner and continue to stir. Remember, you are cooking with a heavy bottom skillet that conducts heat very well, so it stays hot.
Roux equals equal parts flour+fat. That is it.
1 cup of flour to 1 cup of your choice of fat. Usually used is lard, shortening, a canola or vegetable oil.
*Another note to remember is that you should take your roux off the fire once you are close to that deep dark brown color. It continues to cook once pulled from heat and usually will be a shade or two darker.
- 1 cups rendered fat or canola oil
- 1 cups all purpose flour
Make the roux by heating your fat or oil of choice in a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat
Whisk in flour and reduce the heat to moderate. Continue to whisk until the roux takes on a deep brown color. Remove from heat.