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Cajun gumbo - dark roux always bitter

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've tried numerous times and ways to make a dark roux for gumbo. After I make it, I always sample it before adding into my stock mix. To me it always tastes like extremely strong coffee with a bitter taste. I just tried again and was very careful to stir constantly and not let it stick. I did this for at least 20 minutes and I never saw any flecks or anything that made me think it had stuck or burned. It was very creamy and continued to slowly darken until it appeared like dark chocolate. I've always read/heard that if the roux gets burnt, it will be bitter and has to be tossed. I guess I'm not sure what it is supposed to taste like immediately after being made.

If this has been discussed before, just point me to where I can find the thread/post. Just for background info, I'm a disaster in the kitchen and may be beyond hope. :lol: But I sure would like to learn and will appreciate any help you guys can offer. Thanks!

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post #2 of 17
Dark roux is supposed to taste something like dark, but not burnt, toast. Smell like it too.

There aren't any real rules for things like gumbo -- make it the way you like it. "Milk
chocolate," or even "peanut butter" are perfectly good roux colors -- and if you like them better you should use them.

This stuff is supposed to be fun, not anxiety provoking. Trust your self and your senses. The fact that you can taste the fine line beyond which roux should not be taken tells me you have a good cook's palate. Reconcile yourself to it and get back to the stove.

Call me when it's ready,
BDL
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post #3 of 17
Boar_d_laze is right on. Stop stressing and back off taking the roux to that stage. You could be scorching the starch but why not just take it to the point where it does not taste burnt, stop there and prepare your gumbo. One of the best gumbos I have made was with a roasted peanut butter colored roux and of course the peppers, onions, celery, file' and bacon provided plenty of flavor. Turn it down a notch and enjoy!:bounce:
post #4 of 17
I have had many cooks working for me that would constantly burn the roux or just plain walk away from it out of impatience. I have gotton into the habbit of putting the flour on a sheet pan and roasting it in a conventional oven. During the process I will stir the flour with a metal spatula to insure a nice even toasting. Just brown the flour to a decent medium brown and add your butter and its done. Imo,the roux should have a nutty smell and taste. Remember gumbo got its name for a reason.
post #5 of 17
Years ago in the hotels with french kitchens there were 3 rouxs white, blonde and dark or brown. The flour was put into pans and cooked first in the oven. blonde till it smelled like hazelnuts, brown like roasted chestnuts. This was done mainly for speed, rather then stand by the stove an watching it.
Second if you ran short of a brown sauce or gravy you could make one faster, if flour was already browned. We used it for Gumbo base and it always came out pretty good, it hardly ever burned, yet it did have a bitter type taste which is inherant in anything browned like this, even crust on bread if you compare it to the white part, but when the dish was finished you could not taste it.:talk:
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post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
I think this is what I've been experiencing--it tastes bitter when testing it. I did decide to just 'go for it' and see, so I went ahead and added the roux to the stock and finished the gumbo and it actually turned out very good with no bitterness. Also, this morning I decided to do some experimenting. I browned two batches of flour in the oven, one a medium brown and another fairly dark, as well as the traditional way on the stovetop. They all tasted very similar just different intensities. Also, there were no other cooking smells so I could actually smell the flour while in the oven and the roux when cooking it. Right now my kitchen definitely has a 'toast' smell to it. :) And I have lots of roux for future gumbo. I certainly prefer the method of browning the flour in the oven better than the constant stirring on the stovetop!

Thanks to all for your very helpful input! I guess I was overly anxious and second-guessing myself. Next time should be more fun. :bounce:
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ooops! I didn't mean for the thumbs down icon to be there. I just joined the forum yesterday so I'm not yet familiar with all the workings.
post #8 of 17

 

   I don't have any problems with a roux that was started in the oven.  I don't use this method myself, but again...that's because I actually do enjoy the roux making process.  I can certainly understand that not everyone enjoys the constant attention it take to bring a roux to its dark stage without burning it.  I've often said you can tell the mood that a cook was in when he/she made their gumbo from the roux they made.  While I prefer a dark roux, I would rather a cook just show me the day they had by serving me a bowl of gumbo with the roux they made instead of trying to make it something it wasn't.

 

   Like I mentioned, I prefer a dark roux...but there is nothing wrong if you've had a peanut butter roux day.  Please serve it with a smile. 

 

 

 All Gumbo is beautiful!

 

 

  dan

 

  (edit add:  There was another poster that mentioned darkening their roux with Kitchen Bouquet to make the roux darker.  I didn't want the other poster to delete their post (which she did), only that I had a different view on roux.)

post #9 of 17

 I have a couple of geese in the stock pot right now for gumbo tonight.  If you don't enjoy the process of making the rouz, try Kary's Roux.  They make a light and a dark roux, and all of my Cajun friends use that instead of making their own. 

 

post #10 of 17

Having lived on the Gulf Coast for over 20 years and eating many differnt Gumbo's, it remains one of the hardest dishes for me to make. My roux is great, slow and stirred constantly, I just can never get the rest of the dish in the right quantities, and replicate the tastes I enjoyed there. I even make my own seafood stock, follow the recipe to the tee. Thus far the score is Good Gumbo 0, trashed Gumbo 3!!!!

 

Seemingly simple recipe, just kicking my shorts. Bread pudding is another simple dish that just seem's to mock me, I am embarassed to say.

 

tcollins

post #11 of 17

 

I first learned about baking the flour to make a dark roux when cooked in New Orleans. Chef did this because it was a hotel and we could cool it and set it aside for other applications that couldn't afford the time to watch a dark, stove roux. Since I left New Orleans, I haven't found the need to roast it by oven, I love the whole process of making it on the stove but it does take a certain amount of patience to do this (which I'm surprised I have, I guess that's the imported Cajun in me). 

Just like BDL said, you have a good palate for being able to identify the flavors of the roux.

Just go with your gut and you'll be alright.

post #12 of 17

What's wrong with it?

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcollins View Post

Having lived on the Gulf Coast for over 20 years and eating many differnt Gumbo's, it remains one of the hardest dishes for me to make. My roux is great, slow and stirred constantly, I just can never get the rest of the dish in the right quantities, and replicate the tastes I enjoyed there. I even make my own seafood stock, follow the recipe to the tee. Thus far the score is Good Gumbo 0, trashed Gumbo 3!!!!

 

Seemingly simple recipe, just kicking my shorts. Bread pudding is another simple dish that just seem's to mock me, I am embarassed to say.

 

tcollins

What's wrong with it?

post #14 of 17

I brown my flour dry for roux.  Then it is cooked and I don't need as much fat to produce a good roux - you could say it makes a low fat gravy, or gumbo.  Also when making my gravy this way there are no lumps.  I think you are over thinking the whole thing just back off a notch, or two as was suggested.  One of the worst smells to me is burnt flour.  My grandmother burnt her roux for pigs feet once when I was a kid and it took weeks to get that smell out of the house - lol.gif

 

You know what they say - practice makes perfect - keep practicing.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by testpattern View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcollins View Post

Having lived on the Gulf Coast for over 20 years and eating many differnt Gumbo's, it remains one of the hardest dishes for me to make. My roux is great, slow and stirred constantly, I just can never get the rest of the dish in the right quantities, and replicate the tastes I enjoyed there. I even make my own seafood stock, follow the recipe to the tee. Thus far the score is Good Gumbo 0, trashed Gumbo 3!!!!

 

Seemingly simple recipe, just kicking my shorts. Bread pudding is another simple dish that just seem's to mock me, I am embarassed to say.

 

tcollins

What's wrong with it?

Dude.  You gotta check the date of the post that you're replying to.  I think in the past year-and-a-half he's either figured it out, or given up.

post #16 of 17

My mother alway made different types of Gumbo; live in Southwest Louisiana, and their was bitterness of any kind. She would put a whole potato in gumbo to pull out bitterness. Hope this helps; Merry Christmas ;)

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefDave11 View Post
 

Dude.  You gotta check the date of the post that you're replying to.  I think in the past year-and-a-half he's either figured it out, or given up.

 
It's still interesting. Making good roux never gets old!   :chef:

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