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What is a roux?
What is a roux? A roux is a blend of a fat and flour and is used as the basis of sauces and soups. A roux is used to thicken and flavor. sauces. We're talking all about rouxs today, especially how to make the perfect roux for the perfect gumbo roux!
"A roux is made up of flour and a fat and is used to thicken and add flavor"
What kind of fat should I use?
You can use any type of fat, different types of fat will give you different flavors. Typically a roux has an equal amount of fat and flour.
When it comes to gumbo, butter is traditionally used in a Creole gumbo roux and oil or lard are typically used in a Cajun gumbo. Butter will give you a blond roux, because the color will stay a peanut tan color and will not darken as much as oil will.
When deciding what kind of oil or fat you are going to use just be sure you know the smoke point of the oil you are using! Different fats have different temperatures that they will eventually start to break down at. You might be surprised to learn that extra virgin olive oil has relatively low smoke point at 350 degrees so it isn't ideal for cooking or roasting things at high temperatures. My foodie friend over at Know Your Produce has a great article really breaking what oil smoke points are, what that means, and what the smoke points are for different oils. You can read all about that HERE!
The darker the roux gets, the less thick it gets. An oil based roux will get you to that chocolate brown color. I like to use oil for my gumbo roux because oil has a higher smoke point so you can get it darker. You’ll notice when I make my roux for my gumbo I add a little extra flour than the standard 1 : 1 ratio a roux calls for. That is because I like my roux super dark, which means that it will not thicken the gumbo as much. So, I add the extra flour to add a little extra body to the gumbo.
A Color Guide
If you're like me, it's always easier to understand something if you can see it first! So here's an easy color guide for you to save and pin for later to know if your roux is where it should be!
Pin this Color Guide for later here!
I like my roux for my gumbo somewhere between medium and dark brown. Here's what mine looks like:
Tips on cooking your Roux
Use a Heavy Bottomed Pot
Use a heavy bottomed pan so the roux does not burn! If the roux burns there is no saving it! You will have to start over! This is why you DON'T want to use a thin-bottomed pan, like a stockpot, the bottom of the pot will get too hot and you’ll have a heck of a time trying to stop it burning. I sometimes find it easier to use a frying pan or skilled to make your roux in and transfer it to a larger pot if needed.
I like to use a heavy bottomed pot like this enameled cast-iron post!. But, of course, you can always make what you have at home work!
Do Not Cook Over Too High a Heat
I like to do it over a constant medium heat. You may be tempted to put it on high to speed up the process, but with this you’ll run the risk of burning it. Turn down the temperature if you think it’s getting too hot! Remember, it’s better to take your time than burning it and having to start over!
Whisk and Watch Constantly
Whisk constantly! This will keep your roux smooth, but also keep any bits from sticking to the bottom and burning. Never take your eyes off of your roux! It’s tempting to multitask and start chopping vegetables, but the second you do I promise you’ll burn your roux and be scrubbing a scorched pan.
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Now that you've got the basics to making the perfect roux try this method out on our favorite Creole Gumbo recipe!
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Originalky posted February 27, 2018