Roux is the beginning to a lot of Cajun (and of course, French) cooking. You’ve got to be attentive when making the roux, so that it doesn’t burn. Very simply, a roux is a mixture of flour and fat (usually oil) that is stirred and cooked over low heat until it reaches the desired color. Cooked roux can be kept indefinitely in a covered jar. The oil will separate during storage, just stir it back into the roux to use.
- ½ cup oil (shortening, lard or butter can also be used)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
Heat oil in a heavy skillet (black cast-iron is best) over medium heat. Add flour, stirring constantly. Continue to stir and cook until roux begins to lightly brown; lower heat and continue cooking until roux reaches desired level of doneness, which is based on the color called for in the recipe. The entire cooking process should take between 30 minutes and an hour.
If a recipe calls for a light brown roux, it should have the color of peanut butter. If a recipe calls for a dark brown roux, the color should be that of chocolate. Be very careful not to burn the roux, since this causes a very bitter taste in the finished recipe.
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