How to Make a Cajun Roux
Contributed by: Janice Faulk Duplantis of BedrockPress.com
The process of preparing Cajun food is in no way hurried and involves a layering of flavors which allows each ingredient to maintain its own identity.
The foundation of preparing authentic Cajun dishes like
gumbo, sauce piquant and etouffee is the Cajun roux
(pronounced ‘rue’). Good roux is neither undercooked nor
overcooked. Undercooking will yield a less full-bodied
flavor and overcooking to the point of being burned will
yield a bitter taste.
The French roux is usually a blend of equal parts flour and
butter cooked slowly until bubbly and well blended, but not
browned. The typical Cajun roux is a blend of equal parts of
flour and fat, cooked together in a heavy pot over high heat
until a medium brown color is reached. Roux must be stirred
constantly to prevent burning. Some people prefer a roux
made with approximately one-fourth cup more oil than flour.
Most often, when Cajun roux is called for, finely chopped
onion and bell pepper is added to the browned roux to arrest
the cooking temperature and prevent the roux from scorching.
This step begins the cooking of the desired dish, such as a
gumbo or sauce piquant.
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
Heat vegetable oil in a heavy Dutch oven or 12-inch skillet
over high heat. When oil is hot, add flour all at once; stir or
whisk quickly to combine flour and oil. If necessary, use the
back of a wooden spoon to smooth out any lumps of flour.
Stir or whisk constantly, until roux reaches desired color
(between a peanut butter and mahogany color) and has a
nut-like aroma. Recipe yields a scant 1 1/2 cups of roux.
(1) If small black or brown specks appear while preparing roux, it has burned and should be discarded. A burned roux will give a bitter or scorched flavor.
(2) Roux may be prepared ahead - cover, refrigerate and use within 1 week.
(3) To prepare extra roux for later use, batches may be prepared by increasing oil and flour in equal amounts.
(4) Freezes beautifully. (Freeze in 1 1/2-cup portions for up to 6 months.)
(5) Caution: Be extremely careful when stirring and handling roux during preparation. With a temperature exceeding 500F, roux splashed on the skin will stick and cause a severe burn.
Preparing an authentic Cajun roux is not difficult once you
know how. If you follow the above recipe exactly, you will
be able to successfully prepare a roux to equal that of any
well-experienced Cajun chef.
Copyright: Janice Faulk Duplantis, 2005
About the Author: Janice Faulk Duplantis, author and
publisher, currently maintains a web site that focuses on
Easy Gourmet and French/Cajun Cuisine http://www.bedrockpress.com
Janice also publishes 2 monthly complementary ezines:
‘Gourmet Bytes’ and ‘Lagniappe Recipe’