Roux Even You Can Do
1) It is a skill only for the elite.
2) Its easier to buy roux in a jar.
It took me a long time to master the roux. I still enjoy the challenge of coaxing one out on stove top. This recipe I make in bulk and keep in the refrigerator for when I just need a spoon full or two to beef up a dish or when I don't have time to make one fresh.
This method can make a low fat roux. I would put that in the title but it sounds too incredible.
This is after 40 minutes in the oven. Its lighter on the outside because I had already stirred it and some excess oil is boiling around the edges.
WARNING: If you splash it on yourself, you will appreciate the term "Cajun Napalm". This method is, however, much safer than stovetop because it uses less oil and cooks at a thicker consistency.
This is after 80 minutes which is about where I stop for generic roux.
1. What makes this low fat is that you start with less oil than the stovetop method. Then, when it cools, the roux and oil separate. A great deal more oil can be poured off the top or, to be hard core, it can be strained through a cheese cloth.
2. The temperature control is precise enough that ANY cooking oil works. Be aware of smoke points, the temperature where the oil starts to break down or "burn". Dancing on the edge of smoke points is the art of roux. Going too far past the smoke point will give your roux a burned taste without appearing burned. For example, the smoke point of butter is 265 so the oven should be set at 260-270.
3. A roux is "burned" when bits of flour burn. You will see small black flakes appear. Sometimes impurities show up as tiny black spots but when it is truly burned you will have noticed sticking and see flakes. This is easy to do on stove top because you are working at higher heats and if the flour stops moving, it sticks and burns. It is difficult to burn a roux using this method thanks to lower heat and pyrex. A metal pan is more capable of burning but still far less so than on stovetop. If you aren't sure, get a little in a spoon, cool it and taste it. Does it taste like roasted flour or burned? A burned roux cannot be salvaged. Throw it away and start over.
4. What color roux? Many recipes will tell you light, medium or dark roux. A light or "blond" roux has almost no color change however the mistake here is not cooking it long enough to eliminate the flour taste. A medium roux should be the color of peanut butter. A dark roux can go to almost black without actually burning. For a gumbo, the darker the roux, the better the flavor.
5. Amounts are relative. You can make as much as your dish will hold. The key is having enough oil in your flour to distribute heat. If you err, err on the side of too much oil. The excess oil can be eliminated later.