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Making a good Roux and better Gumbo

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Cajun food has always been something I have loved since my first bite.  I did not realize what all went into Cajun cooking until I tried making some on my own. After years of disappointment I decided to try the low and slow method that BBQ masters use when they are smoking their tasty meat and poultry.

 

I have always used an electric stove, so I got used to using the numbers on the knob. I found that I could experiment with heating levels by using these numbers on the knobs. I also began to keep a cooking log noting times and temperatures of when and what. The cooking log has been a great help for overcoming bad cooking experiences and to recreate good dishes.

 

Making a Roux is a learned experience and one has to resolve to be patient during the process. After many less than wonderful attempts, I finally developed a method that serves me well and results in a very good Roux every time I make one.  I call it my "99 minute, 6 pack Roux". And like I stated earlier, I discovered cooking a Roux is a lot like smoking meat for BBQ. In other words low and slow.

 

I prefer a thick, dark Roux, just like Justin Wilson. (Love his cooking shows BTW). My ratio is what I call 16 to 9. That is 1 1/3 cup flour (16/12s) and 3/4 cup of bacon grease (9/12s). 1 1/4 cup flour never gets thick enough (for me) and 1 1/2 cup flour is just way to thick to work with. So the 16:9 has turned out to be my ratio.

 

I always start with my skillet on heat level 4 and the bacon grease is fairly hot but not too hot to get the flour mixed in. Just as soon as I get the flour all mixed in and oily, I turn the heat level to 2 and begin the stirring and consuming process. I have discovered at this heat level, that I can stir for about 15 seconds then drink a couple of swallows of beer. Then repeat the process. In the 99 minutes it takes to get the Roux to the nice dark chocolate color that I like, I will have consumed 6 beers. Uh, sometimes 7.

 

I discovered many years ago to turn the heat off then add the 1 tbs of crushed garlic. That one little tablespoon not only thickens the Roux but also makes it darker. After I get the garlic stirred in real good, I cover the skillet for about 5 mins. (Allows time for a biological break) Then I stir in 1 tbs of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. I prefer the white can with no salt. The green can is just too much for my taste buds.

 

I have been using this method for about 11 years now, I have not had one bad batch and have never had to throw one out and start over. I do have to ask the wife to stir once or twice during the process for biological reasons, but she doesn't mind and she loves the Gumbo resulting from our combined efforts.

 

I hope readers find this recipe and method to their liking. Thanks for reading.


Edited by Phurgii - 10/30/13 at 12:24pm
post #2 of 16

Can you post the same recipe measured in wine glasses?

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #3 of 16

I've been doing roux on my induction burner for the last couple of years. It's a different experience. 

 

With induction you can set pretty accurate pan temps, depending on the controls your burner has. I tend to hang out in the mid 300s for the first few minutes while the fat and flour cook out. Then bump up the temp. The settings on mine jump 20-30 degrees at a time on average, Once you hit the low 400s, the color starts to change and your oils might smoke. I tend to jump between about 400 and the maximum limit on mine, 464, in bursts. I need to add heat to get it to color, but don't want to smoke the oil. Takes about 15 minutes to get beyond the peanut butter stage and into the milk chocolate/old penny color. 

 

I've not ever gone to dark chocolate color without losing control and burning the roux, no matter the technique. So far. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am not familiar with the capacity of a typical wine glass, but if they are 6 oz glasses that would 13 - 14 glasses of wine. And probably a 33% increase in biological breaks during the stirring and consumption process....

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Phatch, the high 300's and low 400's turned out to be too hot for my culinary skill level. And as I stated, I was emulating the BBQ masters technique of low and slow. I know it is just an excuse to drink beer, but here in southeast Texas it hot and humid 10 months a year, so the beer goes down quite well. And results of the 100 or so minutes does result in a very good tasting Roux that even my Cajun buddies like. Since I am not Cajun, I have had to work hard to earn their trust with the things I cook. Including BBQ.

post #6 of 16

interesting way to make roux i am a true cajun born and raised in lafayette, la and specialize in cajun/creole food I also have a cooking show on youtube as well i love to cook and also love comparing notes with other cooks.

 

I find it a little unusual that we both use bacon grease in our roux you dont see many people do that i have always done it like that. i find its more flavor then vegetable oil or even butter that alot of people use. however another way of doing it is duck grease.

 

feel free to pm me anytime

post #7 of 16

I've been using organic whole wheat flour for roux and gravy lately and while it is a learning curve with the color I'm happy with the results so far.  The flavor is nuttier - I also dry cook my flour before adding fat - I find I need less of it if the flour is precooked some.   

post #8 of 16

I've never tried using WW flour to make a roux, thank you for experimenting!

 

Afterburn, I much prefer bacon grease in a roux as well.. Always keep a container or two in the fridge for just that purpose. I'm from Thibodaux :) and New Orleans and Baton Rouge

post #9 of 16

yes always save my bacon grease though dont always have enough but found some to buy not sure if they have a rouse's there but its basicly a cajun supermarket i love that place they sell a bacon grease in a can and it works great its the real deal.

post #10 of 16

Lately I've been rendering salt pork for fat rather than bacon.  Store bought bacon seems to have too much extra stuff in it, and I don't cure enough of my own to have a good supply of fat.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

I never thought of using organic whole wheat flour in my roux, but I think I will try it.

I am totally out of bacon grease, so I am thinking of using organic whole wheat flour with Canola oil this week.

post #12 of 16

I took some courses in New Orleans years ago and your method is similar to the way I was taught ' it takes time'

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #13 of 16

Paul Prudhomme has a technique for bringing oil to smoke point, adding flour, and stirring like mad.  Works pretty well; you just can't leave the stove.

post #14 of 16

It's funny that you mention Rouse's, I grew up with that family. I think back when I was a kid they only had a store in Thibodaux and one in Houma and since Katrina the company has exploded.

 

On a different note, if you don't need to saute vegetables and only want to add flavor, flour can be cooked on the stovetop and stored on a shelf to be simply stirred in when needed. No oil necessary :)

post #15 of 16
Like basically maling your own vegetable oil
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phurgii View Post
...I prefer a thick, dark Roux, just like Justin Wilson. (Love his cooking shows BTW). My ratio is what I call 16 to 9. That is 1 1/3 cup flour (16/12s) and 3/4 cup of bacon grease (9/12s). 1 1/4 cup flour never gets thick enough (for me) and 1 1/2 cup flour is just way to thick to work with. So the 16:9 has turned out to be my ratio.

 

 

For roux or thickening anything with flour, I recommend using a flour that's very high in starch, like cake or pastry flour.  (Think cornstarch and its uses in pie filling)  You'll find your roux (or sauce) much smoother, less gummy, than when it's made using all purpose flour that's lower in starch and higher in protein/gluten.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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