Friday, February 8, 2013

Make a Roux! Pictures too!

How's about some kitchen action?!
Note: This post was written early December, before wedding, Christmas, and New Year and birthday exctiement began.  Excuse my recent whinning on this blog.  Contentment (obviously) is a good virtue for me to strive for...and I'm beginning to feel the stirrings of it, or really the settling, peacefulness that contentment brings.  And a small change has occurred since early December: Jonah sits on his own, so the Bumbo has been stowed away. Yippee!

So here is How to Make a Roux*!

I'm here on the sofa with a belly of dark chocolate and a glass of wine by my side.  It's WAY too late for me to be up and Tyler is on retreat so I'm single parenting all weekend (three cheers to all of you single parents).  Which means: I NEED SLEEP.  But I seriously need some time to do what I want, when I want without precious little people up in my grill.  I love you my sweet babies, but you are babies, thus you are needy, and thus I digress.

Ok.  Gosh.  I am so selfish.  Did you catch that "what I want, when I want."  Lord help me!  Help me to embrace selflessness!

In the meantime, how about cooking up a roux? Oh but you aren't cooking a gumbo? No worries! You could do an etoufee instead!  But really, it's gumbo weather my friends!

But this is about roux.  Homemade roux.  Thank you Kary for revolutionizing the life of modern-day Cajun folk, but this girl has never, repeat, never bought roux and for that I raise my glass of wine and take a sip.


So this is really how my momma taught me.  No lie.  I have pics!  Here we go!

This is a roux for four servings.

Stuff you need:
  • Butter (or oil, but do butter, its just so delicious) 1/2 stick
  • Flour 1/2 cup
  • Diced onions one large/two small
  • Diced bell pepper one (i also use a sweet variety found at our famer's market 3/$1 and those work great)
  • Diced celery one stalk
Onions, bell peppers and celery are the trinity of Cajun cooking.  I buy low when the price is best (thanks Auntie Leila) and dice and freeze.  I much rather pay 70 cents for a celery bunch than $1.19! I much rather pay 99 cents for three pounds of onions than 75 cents a pound! You get my drift!
  • 1/2 cup measuring cup
  • 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon
    • Pot (preferably cast iron, but hey, whatever is in that cabinet is perfect!)
    • Spatula or Roux Spoon (no lie, they make these, but I'm content with my little wooden spatula that I was given freeeeeeeeee!)
    • Salt
    • Black Pepper (fresh cracked if possible - watch the grocery stores grinders go on sale now and again!)
    • Cayenne Pepper
    • OR a Cajun/Creole seasoning blend rather than seasoning with individuals

    First you put your super cute baby in a comfy spot with something to gnaw on.  Thank you Lamaze toy.

    Second, melt half a stick of butter over low heat and then add 1/2 cup of flour.  Start browning over medium-high (but more medium than high) heat and at this point get ready to focus.

    Third, keep stirring!  Again, you cannot leave this unless someone is playing in poop, running in the road, or otherwise severely in danger.  So do this at naptime, if you can, and if not turn that TV on for a quick program or give your kiddo(s) a bucket of water and some stirring and scooping supplies.  It's for the sake of getting supper on the table!
    Fourth, this is where an etoufee roux is FINISHED browning (it has reached peanut butter brown).  If you are making a gumbo, just keep on stirring.  It's about to get crazy-intense.  Make sure the kiddos are occupied!  Pull out popsicles (what? its still 70 and 80 degrees F here!), Cheerios, Goldfish and let them get their munch on!

    Fifth, the roux is browning ridiculously fast.  Your fire alarm might (mine always does) go off, and that's mostly (hopefully) a good sign that you are getting some good browning!  My roux came out a bit darker (as you will see) but I had to stop photographing at this point for fear of burning (AH! don't!) my roux.

    As soon as your roux is the color of Nutella (sorry for all the spread explanations, just trying to get you a tasty spread! hahaha!) dump in your onions to cool the roux and turn it to low-ish medium.  I add a smidgen of water (like the amount in the teapot when you think it is empty but you dump it to make sure and like about a tablespoon comes out, that much).  Stir.

    Onions stirred into roux - looking yummy!

    After adding onions and water, add bell peppers and stir.

    Add celery to complete the Cajun cooking trinity.  Apparently, the France-French trinity (miripoix) is onions, celery and carrots (this knowledge a courtesy of Auntie Leila; click this sentence to visit her roux making). What a neat difference! Somewhere between here and there the carrots were swapped for bell peppers.  

    Finally time to season your roux.  I don't have amounts.  I usually wing it, but I estimate: a teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon of cracked black pepper and a fourth teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Stir.  Overall this is your first round of seasoning.  As you cook the etoufee and gumbo you do lots of taste-testing!

    Viola! There you go! A roux!  Now you can freeze or refrigerate it for later use.  I would use within two or three days after being in the refrigerator and within six months of being in the freezer.  Or keep on cooking to make an etoufee or gumbo!

    *Different people in different places and even in our city may make their roux differently, but this is how I learned!

    Tomorrow I will be posting a kingcake recipe that is a blending of my mom's recipe and my own.  
    Come back! You've gotta try this before Ash Wednesday!!!

     So this is Jonah sitting...but then he fell backwards pretty pronto-ific!

    And after we wiped tears we settled him with his Boppy pillow and all was well!

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