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About roux


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HungryC,

Thanks for the description and it is a scenario where I'm making roux in one pan while another pot has the simmering gumbo ingredients... once I've got the color I'm looking for in the roux I'm anxious to add it to the gumbo pot. All hell breaks loose at that point when I do add it and the result is the roux quickly overcooks.

What I hear in your description/experience is to let the roux cool before adding to the stock. Got it.

Since I'm into the science of this... this seems to be simply an oil/water scenario where the oil (the roux) is as hot or hotter than the water (stock) and thus the reaction that occurs is separation... even though separation doesn't really appear to occur... it just cooks really, really fast even though you are stirring like rabid banshee. Or simply put, cool the roux Brian and make life easier. Got it.

Thanks and happy etoufee day,

Brian

Brian Misko

House of Q - Competition BBQ

www.houseofq.com

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Brian, you bring up an interesting point. In traditional gumbo technique, the roux is made, and its cooking is arrested by adding chopped onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, etc. Once these aromatics are wilted, the stock/water is added next.

You describe a process--making a roux on the side and having a pot of boiling other stuff (I'm assuming veggies & proteins), awaiting delivery of the finished roux (in my case, a slightly cooled roux). This process is the one I use ONLY when making LARGE quantities, like the 60 quart pot I mentioned in my earlier post. We cool the roux partially to make it easier to handle, as hot roux sticks to the skin & will result in nasty burns, kinda like hot sugar syrup. I am not aware that a hot roux added to hot water will continue to cook, but rather that it will just sink right to the bottom of the pot in globs and not mix into the stock very quickly. Again, the potential problems are that these chunks indee might burn if stuck to the bottom of the pot or, if the flour was insufficiently cooked, turn slightly solid and never incorporate into the liquid. These "roux bergs" are pretty nasty, I can attest, and there is no way to get rid of them once they're formed. You pretty much have to pitch the whole batch and start again.

When making gumbo in "home" quantities (say, up to a 16 or 20 quart stockpot), I generally follow the traditional method of making the roux & stopping the cooking by adding the aromatics...this mixture is then easily scraped into a stockpot for the next steps. I guess if you had long arms, you could make roux directly in a stockpot, but I'm short so it's not practical. My newest pot is a 7-quart wide Le Creuset french oven, sold as a "risotto" pot, which might be the perfect gumbo pot. Thick, even-heating bottom for roux-making, shallow enough to be comfortable for constant stirring, yet big enough to allow for a rolling boil.

Edited by HungryC (log)
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HungryC,

There are likely as many ways to make gumbo in regards to the roux and stock as there are varieties of gumbo itself... by the same token, I found fresh okra today! Yeah! (not a local vegetable in Vancouver).

Thanks

Brian

Brian Misko

House of Q - Competition BBQ

www.houseofq.com

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I picked up the newspaper this AM to find this poem---from the author's newest book "Let it Be a Dark Roux: New & Selected Poems":

'Making a Roux' by Sheryl St. Germain

I am making a roux, like my mother, like my grand-

mother, like all the women whose shadows stretch

before and behind me. I am standing before the stove

stirring, and I wonder what they thought of as they stood

and stirred, as their hands went round and round

in this ancient gesture. I wonder

if they looked deep into it as I do, as if it could speak,

stared at this flour and grease come together,

this stuff that is base, thickener, nothing

you cook will ever cohere without it, this

stuff that must be cooked over the slowest fire,

this stuff that must be tended

until the heat turns it the color of nuts,

the color of the earth, the river

the sweet color of some skins,

the color the roux gives up

to the dish it will thicken.

I am making a roux, like my mother, like my grand-

mother, it is so simple, this flour and grease

come together with its thick bready

flavor, like the two of us come together.

Let it be a good roux, a dark roux, let the cream,

the smoky glue, the sweat and dirt of us,

thicken some dish already seasoned,

already rich.

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  • 8 months later...

I can make a gumbo in 30 minutes. I do that with pre-cooked chickens, broth, and sausage that I nuke for a few minutes to get the fat out. and pre-made roux and Guidry's pre chopped veggies.

When you have to make a roux, and have babies..it's allmost allways a disaster, that's when I discovered premade roux. Honey, a burnt roux is not something you want in your house.

Then I realized, none noticed when I'd switched. (except my mother in law..long story, short: Mom: cant't make a roux? Yes I can, do you want to take care of the kids while I do? Mom: no, I'll just make the roux.)

This weekend I made a gumbo for 60 people. Boiled the chickens (4) deboned..sauteed the sausage to get some fat out etc... and put it all together with a HUGE jar of roux.

The oldest, self proclaimed cook there declared it 'perfect'.

I also used fresh chopped Guidry's veggies..

and a sprip of rosemary and 5 thymes. it was a really good gumbo.

I can do it the long way, but I think it's almost as good the short way. And the difference is not in the roux, but in the broth..whether I cook the chicken myself of cheat. I like it better when I cook the chicken, but if you're in a big hurry I don't think it's a huge thing.

For seafood, it's a good thing to have a seafood stock on hand. I have to make mine because I don't have a food store handy that keeps that. I also do everything from scratch with a seafood gumbo..including roux. It has to do with how much money I'm spending I guess. To do a seafood gumbo right cost me about 200 bucks for 20 people. lump crab is 25/lb..

Do you make your roux? has anyone been able to tell the difference?

I think the jar stuff is the best thing on the cajun market, but now I have teenagers fighting. get back to you.

edit: usual stuff.

Edited by highchef (log)
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I have used roux from a jar on several occasions and think my gumbo turns out just fine. My husband, who is picky aobut his gumbo, also doesn't mind jarred roux. Usually what we will do is make a double batch of roux and put half in the fridge. However, we don't have kids and I am sure that makes a difference. When I buy it I buy Savoie's.

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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Why buy roux? Because it is nothing more than browned flour in oil. No magic, no voodoo, no mystery. Whether I make the roux myself or John Folse does it in his factory down the road in Donaldsonville, what difference does it make? The end result is indistinguishable. It's not like a stock, where store-bought equivalents are decidedly inferior to the commercial product.

So many of our traditional dishes start with a roux; people who only make the occasional roux don't see the beauty of the jarred roux as a convenience food. But if 2/3 of your traditional cooking begins with a roux, it sure is nice to have a jar on hand for a quick crab stew, or chicken fricasee, or peas in a roux, or as the base of a brown gravy. On a weeknight, I sure as hell am not going to make a roux to turn out a quick batch of crawfish etouffee (especially since my version uses just a tiny dab of roux).

Practically every LA native cajun home cook I know keeps some sort of premade roux on hand. Some only use it for "emergency" purposes (like whipping up a last-minute gumbo when the neighbor's grammaw dies unexpectedly and you need to feed 40 people, or thickening a dish that has ended up too thin). Others virtually NEVER make a homemade roux. Some are partial to the powdered kinds without oil, others prefer a particular brand or shade of browning. Just as many people make roux in the microwave, a quick and easy process, albeit with none of the romance of the black iron skillet and slow stirring. Still, daily home cooking for a family has never been about romance.

I'm happy that all of these people are still cooking traditional foods, and I'm happy that Louisiana entrepreneurs have developed convenience foods that make it easier for the home cook to stick to traditional dishes on a daily basis, rather than relegating them to special occasions or turning them into inaccessible symbols of a cuisine practiced only by those with lots of time.

Of course you don't get it, just like I don't get why people buy pasteurized crabmeat in little cans.....

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Of course you don't get it, just like I don't get why people buy pasteurized crabmeat in little cans.....

Not exactly an accurate analogy, considering that flour and oil are not limited to regional availability.

Though I don't think "why buy roux" is a fair question, either. Like Celeste says, when most of your traditional dishes are based off of something that takes a significant amount of time, it might make a lot more sense to you. For instance, I prefer making tagliatelle, etc., to buying it. But when I just don't feel like going through the process, and I really want some pasta, I'll buy it. To South Louisianans, gumbo isn't something you turn into a project because you want to try a cuisine that's foreign to you. It's comfort food, and sometimes you just want comfort food to be easy.

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Why would I go to Hebert's Speciality Meats here and when I am picking up the Camellia red beans, the Poche's Tasso and Andouille pick up a back up jar of roux. As has been stated above, for emergencies. Like it is 5 pm and my employer decides she wants gumbo for dinner. Or I have just found out that a crowd is coming to dinner and I only have 2 hours to put the whole thing together. Or if I am just being lazy on my day off and want a little etouffee for 2.

Oh how I wish I could get the real unpastrized crab meat here. I do have to settle for the cans from the fish market. The little cans from the grocery store over where the canned tuna and salmon are is really bad.

Now I want some speckled trout with a little crabmeat for dinner. oh well. Next trip to New Orleans.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Sign me up with the crowd that always has a little commercially-prepared roux in the pantry. Assuming Chris really wants an answer to his question, "Why in the world would you buy roux?" it's because I live alone. When I'm entertaining, I start from scratch, and turn the whole thing into a project.

But when it's just me and my TV and I'm tired and hungry, my recipes that start with "first you make a roux" are a lot more appealing when they start with "first you take a spoonful of roux out of the jar."

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Ooh where does a northern girl (with southern roots & tastebuds) get this stuff? I love gumbo, but it is awfully hard to find the time to get that roux dark enough...

I took a quick look on amazon, but all they have is "roux powder" ???

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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You don't have to freeze jarred roux. It keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator. You could probably keep it at room temperature -- I don't recall anything saying "refrigerate after opening" on the jar, but it doesn't take much room in the fridge.

I make my own. However, just like stock, I am rarely without an emergency back-up on hand.

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Ooh where does a northern girl (with southern roots & tastebuds) get this stuff?  I love gumbo, but it is awfully hard to find the time to get that roux dark enough...

I took a quick look on amazon, but all they have is "roux powder" ???

Seems like "roux powder" would be . . . flour.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Ooh where does a northern girl (with southern roots & tastebuds) get this stuff?  I love gumbo, but it is awfully hard to find the time to get that roux dark enough...

I took a quick look on amazon, but all they have is "roux powder" ???

Seems like "roux powder" would be . . . flour.

I think they're talking about the dry roux in this case dave. It's browned flour w/out the oil. I've never used it, but that could be done easily with a cast iron skillet. you'd still have to stir a lot, but you wouldn't have to wear asbestos. I really just thought it was another diet craze the first time I saw it, you know, another fat free thing. I have an idea that the flavor may still have some bite, but the body of the gumbo wouldn't quite be the same. anyone know?

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Right -- I was trying to make a joke. It reminded me of those expensive bottles of simple syrup I see in liquor stores.

As for browned flour, it's even easier on a sheet pan in the oven. Just rake it every once in a while. And no, it's not the same as an honest roux made with fat, but it has its uses.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Is it possible, then to make a large batch of roux during some free time and just keep it in the fridge?  I am wondering if I should try this.

I've had good results doing just this.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Is it possible, then to make a large batch of roux during some free time and just keep it in the fridge?  I am wondering if I should try this.

I've had good results doing just this.

So how long is it good in the fridge and how long in the freezer?

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Is it possible, then to make a large batch of roux during some free time and just keep it in the fridge?  I am wondering if I should try this.

I've had good results doing just this.

So how long is it good in the fridge and how long in the freezer?

As far as I can tell, forever, regardless of storage as long as it's cold.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Is it possible, then to make a large batch of roux during some free time and just keep it in the fridge?  I am wondering if I should try this.
I've had good results doing just this.

So how long is it good in the fridge and how long in the freezer?

As far as I can tell, forever, regardless of storage as long as it's cold.

One thing that would be tricky in doing this is making sure that the roux doesn't burn. When preparing roux for typical use, when the roux achieves the proper level of darkness, you can more or less immediately stop any further browning by adding a (relatively) cold ingredient (usually the trinity vegetables). When making a dark roux that is meant to be saved, you don't have the ability to quickly cool the roux this way. Rather, you either have to go for a lighter roux and hope that some of the holdover heat will finish the browning, or you have to use a highly conductive pan and quickly put the base of the pan into an ice bath when you want to start the cooling (as one does with a dark caramel).

--

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