Basic Cajun Roux
A roux is a mixture of fat and flour which is used to thicken sauces, soups, and other dishes. Although it is a classic French technique where butter and flour are cooked just enough to get the raw taste out, the Cajuns and Creoles have taken it a step further using it not only to thicken, but also to flavor. The flavor and richness of each dish changes according to the color of the roux.
1 cup fat (lard, vegetable oil, shortening)
1 cup flour (more or less)
Place the fat in a skillet and turn the heat to medium. Whisk in the flour and stir until smooth. At this time, check the consistency: it should form a smooth paste that is neither runny nor clumpy or grainy. Since the absorbency of flour varies greatly, as does the body of oils, it is impossible to give an exact proportion of flour to oil—after a while you’ll be able to guess with greater accuracy. If the roux is too thin, stir in a bit more flour; it if is too thick, stir in a little oil until it reaches the proper consistency. With the roux over medium heat, stir constantly, scraping the entire bottom of the pan so that the roux browns evenly. When the roux becomes light brown or peanut butter colored, it is considered a light roux; when it turns red –brown, it is a medium roux, and when it is very dark (almost black but not quite), it is a dark roux. You must remove the roux from the pan immediately when it reaches the correct color or it will continue to darken. If you get black flecks or burnt parts on the bottom, throw it out and start over; there is no fix for a burnt roux. Making a roux will turn you into a patient person!