How to Make A Real Gumbo Roux

Chef Sean Brock reveals how to make the best roux for an amazing gumbo.

Read the transcript of this video
[MUSIC] So we're gonna turn the heat to low and make our roux. [SOUND] This step will make or break your gumbo. This is what gumbo is all about. This roux is a very unique roux, because traditionally, roux Would be used to thicken, it would be used as a vehicle to thicken a broth or a sauce or a stew or a soup. Here, it's primarily used for flavor, and in Creole cooking, there are various levels of brew and it starts at a very light one, and can end at a mahogany, or a very, very dark brew The longer you cook a rue the less thickening power it has. Here, the rue is traditionally added to this for flavor and not thickening. The thickening will come a bit later from the okra. So, the idea of a darkly flavored rue, in my opinion, came about to mask the flavors Of probably the proteins that were put into the original gumbo. Things like raccoons, and squirrels, and possums, and alligators, and deers, things that are there for geographic reasons, that's what is abundant. In traditional cooking you wouldn't see a roux taking this far. A general rule of thumb for rue is equal parts fat and flour. But what's important to note is that it's by weight and not by volume. So here is where you really have to pay attention. So we're gonna turn the heat up a touch and allow this lard to melt. And then we'll add our flour, and I'll show you a couple tricks. As this lard is melting, we're gonna take that opportunity to use this spoon and scrape as much as possible on the bottom, like this. [SOUND] There's a lot of flavor [BLANK_AUDIO] And then slowly add the flour. This is all purpose flour. Add a little, stir, add a little stir. And that's important because you don't want to get big clumps of flour in there. That looks great. See how it sizzles up. It's starting to pick up the fat but not stick to the bottom. That's very, very important. And you can see how I'm adding it in small amounts. If I were to dump all that in, I'd have a disaster. It would stick and burn. And you would have these clumps. Of rue that, we call them rue balls and they would never hydrate and somebody would get a big bite of that. Stir, stir, stir, and that smell right there, that chicken and that andouille and that lard and those Cajun spices mixed with the flour is a really special. Smell. I like the way that's looking. Normally that would look like it's not enough flour for a traditional rue, you gotta keep in mind we're gonna cook this for a long period of time to get that mahogany flavor that'll give us that deep, rich, complex. Rue flavor to the gumbo, and that's gonna reduce down. So if you start very, very thick it's gonna burn. So now I move away from the whisk actually, because a whisk can't really get in the side of the pot, like a spoon can. And I'm gonna turn the heat very low. [BLANK_AUDIO] And you can see how I'm scraping, scraping, scraping non-stop. [BLANK_AUDIO] And then you're gonna stir this slowly for about 45 minutes, and you'll watch it go through The various roux stages. It'll go from light, to blond, to a dark roux, and then to a mahogany roux. And that's a very personal thing. That depends on the flavor that you're looking for in your gumbo. I like For the roux to be a very major flavor in this recipe. So I let it go. I let it go for about half an hour to 45 minutes. This is a labor of love. As you can tell, it's really wanting to stick to the bottom. So in the beginning you've really gotta stay over it and keep your heat very very low, as you can see there. So we'll let that go for about half an hour. [BLANK_AUDIO] So now that roux has carefully been cooking for about an hour. And that means that you have to literally not leave this roux's side. You have to stir and stir and stir but you'll be rewarded with this incredibly dark and rich flavor that'll make this gumbo really really special. So if you look at it now you could even go darker than this, in my opinion. If you really, really love that dark flavor. But a lot of people don't so this is what I would go, if you were serving a large group of people, especially someone who's never had a true gumbo before. So I'll go with that and it's like the color of peanut butter right now, like a darker peanut butter, like an almond butter. And It's beautifully emulsified. [MUSIC]
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How to Make A Real Gumbo Roux