Cajun Roux

Forget everything you know about roux, and open your mind and heart to Louisiana's Cajun roux. This roux is edgy, bold, dark and tasty-and it makes the best Cajun gumbos. Put on some Zydeco music; sip on a crisp, cold Old Fashioned; and review the roux recipe. Now let's get cracking on some real Cajun cooking. Laissez le bon ton roule!

What is a Cajun roux?

According to Saveur, the Cajun roux recipe is a family heirloom that's been lovingly handed down from generation to generation. This roux is barely recognizable as the delicate French sauce thickener we've come to use regularly for making sauces, gravies and creams. The Cajun roux is deep, chestnut brown, glossy and well-cooked.

Authentic Cajun roux recipe

Place equal parts lard (or oil) and all-purpose flour in a cast-iron skillet. A good starting point is one cup of each. Set the heat to medium to medium-low and start stirring. You will need to tend to this roux. Don't walk away. Stir and stir until a beautiful, rich, deep and glossy brown has been achieved. Spending the stirring time to nurse this dark Cajun roux along is worth every minute.

Many uses

Once you have the roux of your dreams you can simply stop there. Jar the roux, and keep it in the fridge for thickening at a later date (it keeps for months). Or you can use it right away. Here are some ways to use roux:

  • Five to six cups of stock for a very thick brown sauce
  • Seven to eight cups of stock for a traditional gumbo-style sauce
  • 10 to 12 cups of stock for a thinner gumbo-style sauce

Common use of Cajun roux

Gumbos and other classic Cajun dishes almost always start with the roux process. The roux is then scraped to one side of the cast-iron pan to make room for the finely minced onions, celery, garlic and bell pepper that are the base for most gumbos. It is not uncommon to find a Cajun stealing a spoonful of this mixture to use on bread as a sandwich.

Note: If you see black spots in the roux, throw it out. It has cooked too long or too hot and is burned.

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