Roux has forever intimidated me. I always burn it then have to resort to the instant roux. But, for a recent New Orleans-themed celebration, I decided it was time to go for the real stuff.
Great news! Roux is not that difficult. No reason to be intimidated. It takes some time…but not as much as I had thought. It takes some attention and stirring, but again, not a big deal. The real secret to roux success is the right kind of cooking vessel. My 8 qt Staub cast iron cocotte (also called a dutch oven or a casserole) made the difference. Cast iron slowly heats and then retains a consistent temperature. That’s the key to great roux. Previously I had used stainless fry pans and, yes had even tried it with non stick (which really doesn’t work). Staub cast iron is my secret to great and easy roux.
So what about the rest of the gumbo-making? For me, fresh ingredients added at the right time are essential. Scallions need to be added just before serving for bright green which contrasts nicely with the rich brown color of the gumbo. I also add okra toward the end to keep it from getting too mushy as well as to help retain its color.
Here’s the gumbo recipe you see in the photos. I compiled it from several different recipes, including one from a friend who’s a New Orleans native and fabulous cook. Oh yes….the New Orleans celebration was a great success…as measured by requests for my gumbo recipe!
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups flour
Combine oil and flour over medium heat. Stir slowly and constantly for 15-25 minutes, depending on how deep of a brown color you desire.
The rest of the Gumbo:
1 cup diced onions
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup diced green peppers
3 lbs of boneless chicken meat cut into mouth-sized cubes(I like thigh meat)
2 lbs of andouille sausage, sliced
34 oz chicken stock (home-made or I like low sodium from the supermarket)
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp basil
1 cup of chopped parsley (added in ½ cups)
½ lb of sliced okra (frozen is just fine)
2 cups of sliced green onions
Louisiana hot sauce to taste
Cayenne and/or black pepper to taste
1. Stir in onions, celery, green pepper and garlic into roux. Saute for 3-5 minutes until vegetables are wilted.
2. Add chicken and sausage into the mixture above and cook for approximately 15 minutes.
3. Add chicken stock, one large ladle at a time, constantly stirring. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook approximately one hour.
4. Add ½ cup of chopped parsley, the bay leaves and basil.
5. Skim any fat or oil that rises to the top.
6. At this point, I let the partially prepared gumbo cool and then refrigerate it overnight.
7. The next day, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour before you’re planning to serve the gumbo, skim off any additional surface fat.
8. Heat the gumbo over a VERY low heat.
9. When it gets to the serving temperature you like, taste it and add any Louisiana hot sauce or cayenne or black pepper to your taste.
10. Add the okra and cook for approximately 5-10 minutes (time depends on frozen or fresh okra)
11. Just before serving, add sliced green onions and cook for about 2 minutes.
12. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley