Louisiana-Style Roux - How To Make Roux:
Many New Orleans (Acadian, Creole, and Cajun) recipes start with "First
you make a roux."
A Roux (pronounced "roo") is browned in a mixture of
white wheat flour and a cooking fat (oil or animal fat) that is used to
thicken sauces, stews, and gravies. Roux serves as the base for most gumbo
recipes where a rich, deep, hearty flavor, and texture is desired.
Experienced gumbo cooks will use it as the main thickener and will endeavor
to make it as dark as possible. The richness of dark colored roux adds both
flavor and color to the finished gumbo.
Condiments and Sauces,
Seafood Gumbo - New Orleans Style
South Central (Acadian, Creole, and Cajun)
Yields: 2 cups
Cook time: 45 to 60 min
Always use equal amounts of oil and flour when making roux. Remember this simple rule when increasing the amount of roux made.
1 cup vegetable shortening or vegetable oil (your choice)*
1 cup all-purpose flour
* The oil used should be a vegetable oil
like Crisco or corn oil (except when using butter in a light colored version). Animal fats like lard or bacon grease will also work fine.
Traditional Stovetop Roux:
The old-fashion or traditional method for making roux.
- In a heavy skillet
(I like to use my
Cast-Iron Skillet) over medium heat, heat vegetable shortening or oil
(or fat of your choice) until hot.
- Add flour gradually, stirring or whisking to combine with the shortening or oil.
- After adding all
the flour, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring
frequently, about 45 to 60 minutes or until roux
ranges from a peanut butter color to a dark brown
(red brown or color of milk chocolate) and has a
nutlike odor (it will be very thick and pasty).
This process takes some time,
depending on how high the heat on your stove is. The
slower, the better, but be ready to remove skillet
from the heat and stir more rapidly if the roux
appears to be getting too hot. If you stop stirring
- the flour will burn. Never walk away from your roux.
If you see black specks in the roux, you've ruined
it. Dump it out and start over. The secret
to getting perfect roux is to take your time and
- When done to your
liking, immediately remove from heat and set aside.
- Carefully transfer it into your stockpot and
start making gumbo.
Approximate Time Table for Cooking Traditional Roux:
There are five (5) different stages of cooking a roux. Cooking times can vary,
depending on the type and amount of roux you're trying
to make. Different roux are dictated by the amount of
time they spend in the pan and categorized by their
color. As your roux gets darker, it gains flavor and
color but loses some of its thickening power. The
different stages of roux are as follows:
White (Light) Roux:
Usually takes 10 to 15 minutes to develop. This roux
is useful for thickening sauces, soups and other
dishes. Also, it is an
ingredient in some pastries and entrees.
Light Brown (Peanut Butter) Roux:
This roux can take up to 40 minutes to fully develop and has the color of peanut butter.
Medium Brown Roux:
If you cook the roux for 50 to 60 minutes, you'll
get a medium brown roux that should be the color of a copper pot.
Dark Brown (Chocolate) Roux:
When you cook the roux for 70 to 80 minutes, you'll
end up with a dark brown roux the color of dark chocolate.
This roux is the final stage of cooking your roux
before roux failure. It is reddish in color and
nutty to the nose. This roux has almost no
thickening properties and is used strictly for
flavor or as the base of a dish.
A quick and easy method for making roux.
- Use the largest bowl you have that can fit into
the microwave because as it cooks, the roux expands.
- Cook the oil on
high for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the flour until no lumps remain and the
mixture is smooth. Continue to microwave at a medium
setting, in 3-minute increments, stirring each time,
until the roux is dark brown (the color of peanut
butter). Cook until the
desired color is reached. It takes approximately 20
minutes to make the medium (or peanut butter
colored) roux in the microwave.
Each microwave is different so you will have to
determine if you need to cook your roux for another
minute or two.
- Carefully transfer prepared roux into your stockpot and
start making gumbo.
This is not how the traditional southern roux is made,
but it is a easy version that takes less attention.
Preheat the oven to 350 to 375 degrees F.
Start the roux on the stovetop to get it going, preferably in a cast iron pot,
by heating the oil to medium high. Then reduce heat to
medium and gradually whisk in the flour, a little at
a time, until fully incorporated.
Carefully transfer the pot into the hot oven and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours,
stirring about every 20 minutes (just set your timer and stir
every time it goes off), until the roux turns a deep, dark, chocolate brown.
Storage of Prepared Roux: Roux can be cooled, then stored for 1 month in an
airtight container in the refrigerator. When it cools, the roux will separate.
Before using, stir to blend and bring the roux to room temperature. Roux also freezes well. For easy of convenience, freeze in ice cube