When I start tackling the subject of a roux, I automatically think back to a recipe book titled Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux, written by Marcelle Bienvenu. The cookbook is written in a beautiful way telling many stories of her childhood and family gatherings, but it’s also written with the assumption that you know how to make a roux, as if you were born with the instinct of getting your roux dark without burning the hell out of it. She and so many others from the Gulf South have their own way of making a roux because they learned it from family, and it’s the way they’ve been doing it for many generations now.
The way I learned to make a roux is stove top in an iron skillet, stirring until my hand cramped, trying not to burn the flour. After years of making a stovetop roux, and it turning out right part of the time, I now only do oven roux. Roux can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a few days prior to making a gumbo.
Prep time for this roux is about 2.5 hours. I typically multitask while creating the roux by prepping gumbo ingredients and starting my gumbo base.
- All purpose flour
- Canola oil
- Your favorite wine
- Preheat oven to 370-375°
- Other people won’t tell you this, but I will: Close all doors in your house and make sure your stove vent is on high. Crack a window. A roux smells nutty and good, but it also permeates everything including bedrooms and closets. Light some candles too. What ever you are wearing will smell like roux. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a strong smell.
- Measure out 2 cups of all purpose flour and 2 cups of canola oil, and combine them in a 10-12˝ iron skillet using a wooden spoon. I like to use a wooden spoon with a flat end. You will get lumps and they will eventually disappear. Only use canola. I have used others oils and canola is the best. Whole Foods 365 brand offers a GMO free canola oil.
- Whisk the flour and oil together stovetop on medium heat until the roux starts to bubble. At that point all four clumps should be fully incorporated and the roux should be smooth.
- Place the skillet in the middle rack of your preheated oven. Set your timer for 2 hours.
- Every 20 minutes for 2 hours, pull the roux out of the oven and whisk the roux until smooth again. The flour will sink to the bottom and the oil will rise to the top, so you will be re-combining the two ingredients.
- Have a glass or two of wine.
- After two hours, your roux should be darker than peanut butter. I have pushed my roux to 2 hours 2o minutes before to get a more milk chocolate color.
- Let your roux sit on a trivet on the counter until it cools. Leave it alone. Do not mix it again. It will continue to darken while cooling. The oil will rise to the top and that will allow you to pour the excess oil off.
- Once cool to touch, pour the excess oil off. I usually pour the oil on top of paper towels in my trash.
- Your roux is now ready to be spooned out of the iron skillet and into a gumbo base.