New Orleans Cuisine

My Creole & Cajun Recipe Page

This is my blog dedicated to New Orleans & Louisiana cooking! I'll give links to great Creole & Cajun recipes and sites, as well as some of my own recipes. I love talkin' New Orleans, food and otherwise! Incidentally, I'm from Detroit. Go Figure. Lets just say I figured out "what it means, to miss New Orleans" and this site helps ease the pain.

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"Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins."
-Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

First You Start With A Roux....

A lot of Acadian and Creole cooking stories start this way. Roux is the foundation for most dishes in New Orleans Cuisine. Gumbo, Crawfish pie, Court Bouillon (COO-be-yon), etc... Making a good roux is essential! This isn't the French roux, I'm talking about here! This is the Acadian roux! The deep chocolate colored roux that makes Gumbo what it is! I call these cooking stories because, folks like me, who like to cook, read cookbooks like a story. The author's story. I like cookbooks with some history in them. You know, where the dish came from, the evolution, that sort of thing. Cajun & Creole Cookbooks are great for this. The first chapter I read when I get a new one is ROUX. Usually Chapter One. It's fascianting how something as simple as cooked flour and fat, can be so different in each cookbook. I don't always cook my roux the same, I like to experiment. One thing that I do differently than most cookbooks is, not only do I cook the roux ahead of time, but I add it after the liquid. I find that I have more control over the consistency of the dish this way, especially if I'm making a huge batch of a gumbo or soup. Just remember, only add cold roux to hot liquid, or cold liquid to hot roux, also, roux doesn't come to its full thickening power until it boils. If you do make your roux ahead, it keeps well in the fridge for practically ever. Anyway here is the latest way that I made my roux:

1 Cup Lard (Hey, what can I say? Lard has the best flavor! You can use Veg. Oil though)
1 3/4 Cup A.P. Flour ( I always gradually add the flour, you may need more or less. It should be thick, but not clumpy)
1 or 2 Bottles of Good quality Beer, like Dixie

Heat you lard over Medium Heat until good and hot, while oil is heating, open a beer. Gradually whisk in your flour until smooth. At this time, I generally switch to a wooden spoon, it gets into the crevices better; take a sip of beer. You want to stir constantly, but not too fast, this is a southern dish. Slow down, have some beer. Picture a streetcar lazily lumbering down St. Charles Avenue. I can remember my mentor Chef watching as I whisked my roux as if it were a bowl of egg whites. He said, "What are you doing? Let it cook! If you stir too fast, you cool it down. It needs to cook." I always think of that when I make roux. However, you do want to keep that roux movin'. If it starts getting too brown as you stir, pull that baby of the burner for a minute, lower the heat a smidge, and For God's sake, Don't splash it on your skin, Chef Paul calls it Cajun Napalm, you'll know what he means if it gets you. I gradually lower the heat as I cook roux. Anyway, after about 10-12 minutes on the streetcar, the roux will start to look like wet sand, peanut butter colored. Drink some beer (I failed to mention, every shade of brown the roux turns, you should have a gulp of beer). Take it nice and slow, turning the heat down if necessary. Opening another beer if necessary. In about 10-12 more minutes, Your roux will look like milk chocolate. This is where I get off the streetcar, a lot of cooks take it further down the line, but this is my stop. I then let it cool at room temperature for awhile, then cover and chill.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never uses lard if I have Bacon drippings.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only true roux can be made from half crawfish fat and half bacon drippings with the same amount of flour.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm trying to make gumbo, and this is the best roux making recipe I've seen yet.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Louisiana Chef said...

Whoever said that a roux should be made using crawfish fat lives in Iowa. People in Louisiana don't know what she's talkin' about.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crawfish Fat??? Where do you find that? Must be like Snipe hunting.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Notes from Maggie's Farm said...

hi there, great post! i've referred my readers to your blog in my own posting on our website, we're making turkey and sausage gumbo, natch. c'mon by!

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This stuff is soooo good! It freezes very well too, and I ALWAYS have a cup or two of it in the freezer. I make mine dark chocolate brown.

1:33 PM  

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