A Dark or Red Roux – essential to so much cooking from Louisiana!
Warm oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add flour carefully (it can spatter and sputter) stirring with a whisk to dissolve clumps. Make certain your whisk fits into the corners of the pan, and switch over to, or alternate between, a large spoon if not. Turn the heat to medium-low. Bubbles, rather small, should be forming but it should not be spattering. Stir constantly at this point, as the roux begins to thicken.
After a few minutes, the roux will begin to lose its floury look, the bubbles will begin to diminish. Lower the heat so only a few bubbles are forming. At this point it is possible to leave the roux for a few seconds to do small tasks (and I do mean seconds – do not walk away at any point in the cooking process or there could be terrible results and/or fire!) and it is very helpful to have a small plate handy to set the spoon or whisk – if left in the pot, it may become too hot to handle; when it needs to be stirred. It does need to be stirred; a roux can easily burn in the short amount of time it takes to grab a hot pad or another whisk.
After about 15 minutes or so, the roux will begin to be noticeably darker, blonde in color, and much thinner. It’s normal to see some separation between the flour and the oil, and it is important to keep stirring so the flour doesn’t settle to the bottom of the pan, sit in one place too long and burn. At this point, there will be very few to no bubbles, and that’s ok. If you’re up to standing and giving the pan constant attention, the heat could go up just a smidge. If you would like to be able to still walk away a few seconds here and there, just keep it where it’s at. My opinion: slow and steady is best.
In about 20 to 25 minutes, it will reach the brown stage and begin to smell “nutty” or “toasty.” Generally, it will be finished and to the dark stage at around 30 to 35 minutes or so. Even when it’s done and you’ve turned down the heat, do not leave the hot roux in the hot pan without continuing to stir; it will be at risk of burning. Once it has cooled down a bit, you’re fine.
Double recipe and save time. Store in refrigerator in canning jar for weeks or in the freezer indefinitely. If placed hot into canning jar, will self seal. Will separate upon being stored, so stir back together before using.
Keywords: Cajun & Creole, Jambalaya, Roux, Southern Cooking