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How To Make A Roux - Part 2

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 1 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Cajun


Several words of advice are essential:

1. Cooked roux is called CAJUN NAPALM. Treat it with care and respect. It is extremely hot, and sticks to your skin. Be VERY CAREFUL to avoid splashing it on yourself (or others standing around you). It's best that you use a long handled metal whisk or wooden spoon. I strongly recommend that you have both a whisk and a spoon handy so you can switch them quickly if you find you're having trouble stirring with one of them.

2. Always begin with a very clean skillet or pot, preferably one that is heavy, such as cast iron (NEVER use a nonstick type - it doesn't withstand the heat or the constant stirring). The cast iron should be well seasoned. If possible, use a skillet or pot with flared sides (without angular corners) because this makes stirring easier and thus makes it less likely the roux will burn. In addition, use a large enough skillet or pot so that the oil does not fill it by more than one fourth its capacity. I have found that the best all-around pot for making roux is a 2 quart, cast-iron Dutch oven with flared sides. I'm also fond of using a 16 inch cast iron skillet.

3. The oil should be smoking hot, or just short of it, before the flour is added. (NOTE: this is different than the Justin Wilson recipe, which calls for a lower temperature and slower cooking).

4. Once the oil is hot, move promptly to add the flour, not only because the oil will eventually burn, but because the quality of the oil starts breaking down as it continues to heat. Stir in the flour gradually (about one third at a time) and stir or whisk quickly and CONSTANTLY to avoid burning the mixture. (flour has moisture in it, and adding it to hot oil often creates steam -- another good reason for using long-handled whisks or spoons.

5. If black specks appear in the roux as it cooks, it has burned; discard it (place in a heat proof container to cool before discarding), then start the roux all over again -- c'est la vie!

6. As soon as the roux reaches the desired colour, remove it from the heat. Unless you are making the roux ahead, stir in any vegetables called for (they help to stop the browning process and enhance the taste of the finished dish), and continue stirring until the roux stops getting darker, usually about 3 minutes.

7. While cooking roux (bringing it to the desired colour), if you feel it is darkening too fast, immediately remove it from the heat and continue whisking constantly until you have control of it; don't ever hesitate to do this. Also, lower the heat whenever you feel it is necessary.

8. Occasionally I have trouble with a roux not coming out just right -- that is, it "breaks" instead of dissolving when it hits hot stock or water. This doesn't happen very often, and it is always surprising and somewhat perplexing when it does. I'm not sure of the reasons why it does this, but it seems most often to be related to variations in the moisture and gluten contents of flour at different times of the year; even batches of flour with the same brand name can vary. I can nearly always tell I'm going to have a problem with a roux when I notice a blue smoke coming off the roux surface instead of the clear smoke you see when oil is just beginning to smoke. When a roux breaks, even after trying it for a second time, I find it's best to use less intense heat, or change to a different type of flour. Always try to use the highest gluten flour you can.

9. Care and concentration are essential for you to be successful with this fast method of making roux. Especially the first few times you make roux, be certain that any possible distractions -- including children -- are under control (I take the phone off the hook). In addition, always have all cooking utensils and required vegetables or seasoning mixtures prepared ahead of time, and near at hand before you start cooking.

Shared by Fred Towner

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