If you’ve ever ventured into the world of Cajun cooking, or if you’ve been into Cajun cooking, you’ve probably heard the term roux. This is a very basic ingredient in a variety of French, Creole, and Cajun recipes. But what exactly is roux and what is its purpose?
A roux is a mixture of flour and fat. Fat is usually in the form of butter or oil. A roux is the base of many Cajun dishes such as gumbo, etouffees, and hot sauce. Now let’s learn a little more about the different types of roux.
Basically, there are three types of redheads:
There is light roux or what is known as “blond” roux. There is medium roux, also known as “peanut butter” colored roux. Finally, there is the dark red. The color of the roux determines the flavor of the roux.
Making a good roux comes with practice. The preparation and the color of the roux depend on the cooking time. If you are trying to achieve a “blonde” roux, you should cook your roux for only four to five minutes. If you want to get the smoky flavor of a dark roux, you may need to cook it for twenty-five minutes over high heat or up to an hour over low heat.
Now the hardest part about making roux is the fact that it has to be constantly stirred. This means that there are absolutely no stops. You can’t answer the phone, go to the bathroom, get your kids out of the cookie jar, etc. Constantly means not stopping even for a few seconds. If you don’t constantly stir the roux, it will burn.
You also need to be very careful when stirring the roux. It’s really hot. If you start to see black spots on your roux, then you have burned it. It must be discarded and you must start over. Making a roux takes a lot of patience and practice.
Roux with thicken your gumbo, sauces and etouffees and stews. If you want to achieve a nutty roast flavor in any of your Cajun recipes, you must learn how to make a dark roux. But keep in mind that dark roux has less thickening power.
So if you want to become a true Cajun or Creole cook, you have to learn how to make a good roux. This will become the base of many of your dishes. But as you can see, you should be ready to spend a lot of time on your roux.