Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I made gumbo last weekend, and a funny thing has happened the last couple of times I've made it. I get the roux good and dark, and relatively thin, but then something happens in the end that thickens it back up again. It's almost a thick gravy consistency when it finally hits the plate; I would even describe it as gelatinous.
It's frustrating because it takes a long time just stirring the roux (step one) and once it's achieved the right color, you can't do a taste test, you just have to proceed with the veggies, stock and spices. THEN it will have some of the right flavor. But by then, you're already in an hour or two, and all of your prepared ingredients are used, so why bother.
Well, since it was all very fresh on my mind, I googled "roux too thick" and made notes from various sources on how to do it right. Here I've jotted some down for future gumbo-making. One goal, aside from remembering to read this post BEFORE my next attempt, is to make the perfect roux in 1 hour or less. I hear it is possible.

  1. If you see smoke during the roux, it's burning - turn it down or off to stop the smoking
  2. When it's time to add the liquid (warm if possible, not hot) add it about 1/4 at a time, whisk it well to incorporate (VERY IMPORTANT), let it bubble before adding more. Too much of a temperature change too fast will make it separate. That's when you wind up with a layer of brown grease floating on top
  3. If you see black speckles in the roux, it's burned. May want to start over
  4. If smoking, then burning- you should notice a consistency change as soon as it starts burning as it will firm up very quickly and start sticking to the pan. Don't cook past the color of dark chocolate
  5. blond roux = 20 minutes
  6. brown roux = 35 minutes (peanut-butter-color)
  7. dark roux = 45 minutes - 1 hour (the color of melted milk chocolate)
  8. a darker roux has less thickening power. Mr. B's ratio is more flour to fat. However since I like thin, liquidy gumbo I should probably try 1:1
  9. also suggested, after sausage, add water, bring to boil, then simmer

side note: this is the first time I used gluten-free flour. I might have blamed it for the problem, except that I've had the same problem in the past with regular all-purpose flour. So I still think I need to get serious about some of the above tips and keep trying until I get it right!

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