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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

all about roux

Many cajun, creole, and french recipes start with "first you make a roux."

Roux is a base for soups and stews.

Roux is made with all purpose flour. It is NOT made with corn starch, as some gravies and sauces are. Roux is not the same as gravy or sauce.

Blond roux is made with equal amounts of butter and flour.

You MIGHT be able to make dark roux with butter and flour, but I have not been able to, successfully.

Dark roux is made with equal amounts of cooking oil* and flour.

*Originally roux was made with lard. Today, usually cooking oil.

Medium roux is "peanut butter" colored. It's also made with cooking oil and flour, but not cooked as long as dark roux.

I use a blond roux for etouffee, and a dark roux for gumbo.

There are a few ways to make roux. Cajuns argue that nothing's better than cast iron.

Heat the cast iron skillet on low. Add cooking oil* and heat up.

*Or butter, if you're making a blond roux.

Then slowly stir in your flour, bit by bit. Not all at once, or it will be lumpy.

Keep stirring until it turns dark, which will take a long time, and you must not leave it unattended.

You want to turn off the heat slightly before it's done, since cast iron retains heat.

You do NOT want black specks-- if you see black specks, it's burnt and no good.

AFTER it's cooled, NOT before, add Kitchen Bouquet for a great flavored roux.

Now, I normally don't cook in the microwave, but roux is one thing you CAN make in the microwave.

Use a Pyrex measuring cup; Equal amounts of cooking oil and flour.

Microwave in ONE minute increments, no more! Otherwise it will burn. One minute, remove and stir, one minute, remove and stir, repeat, until it turns medium or dark.

You can make it in the oven; Mix flour and cooking oil in a cast iron skillet

Into the oven at 350; Check and stir every 15 minutes until it's medium or dark. Don't forget it!

Also, supposedly you can make "fat free roux" by just cooking the flour in the skillet, or in the oven at 350. I've never done it, and don't plan to.

Roux freezes well, so you can make a big batch and freeze in small containers for future use.

2 comments:

  1. The roux is widely used outside of Cajun cooking, where it's regularly used to thicken gravy and sauce. As you said, the basis for any roux is a one-to-one mixture of fat and flour, by weight.

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  2. Yeah, gravy is made from fat and flour (which is roux) and then liquid. I think it's just called roux in this area even though it's used in a lot of places..

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