How to Make a Roux
First off lets start by saying that there are many different ways to make a roux because there are so many people(especially Cajuns) making it. So what this means is that we all have our different opinions on how to make a roux. This is just an average guideline to go by. A roux is a base of many Cajun foods like stews, gumbos, and gravies. It is usually done by cooking equal parts of flour and oil, cooked until brown or even as much as a reddish color. I used to measure everything carefully but when I asked mom "Hey Mom how much of this do I put in here?", she would tell me "A little bit of this but not too much of that". Well what is a little bit of this and not too much of that? You tell me. Anyway roux is better made in an iron pot but I have seen it made in others. The recipe for roux usually goes like this:
1 Cup Flour and 1 Cup Cooking Oil
These are a few guidelines you should follow:
Use an iron pot whenever possible because a roux will cook more evenly and it holds heat better.
Use a whisk, wooden spoon, or as I prefer a metal spatula to stir the roux. make sure you stir it constantly but slowly. If you don't it may splatter and cause severe burns to yourself. I know I still have the scars to prove it. Yes roux is very hot when it is cooking.
You will know if you have burned the roux. It will have small brown or black specks in it. If this happens then throw it away and start over. Believe me it will have a bitter taste and will not mix with the water. Yes it has happened to me many times when I was learning to make it.
As for as cooking times there are no set times. Different factors are involved like the pot your using or even the stove your using (gas or electric). I prefer gas, but another thing that might vary the time is the heat factor and how much roux your making. The main thing is the color of the roux.
For example you might want to go by this. A Light colored roux is used for soups. A brown colored roux is used for gravies, fish, and some fowl. A dark colored roux is used for gumbos and stews.
Ok now the you have some guidelines to go by, lets get started. I prefer to preheat my oil until there is a light blue smoke coming from the oil, but in this case put the pot over a medium to medium-high heat. Put the oil and the flour in the pot stirring slowly and constantly. After about 5 minutes or so the roux will become bubbly. As time goes on the roux will begin to darken some. Remember times will vary based on the amount of heat and equipment used. For a light roux, about 10-15 minutes. For a brown roux, about 30-35 minutes. For a dark roux, about 40-45 minutes. Sounds long to you? -- well that is why Cajun cooking is so good. You can't rush perfection!!
Roux can be made ahead of time and stored for as long as a month in an air tight container in the refrigerator. After a roux cools in the refrigerator it will separate and you should stir it before using it. Sounds simple to make a roux "Right?". It is but it might also take you a time or two to get it right