Since it is getting near winter (do we ever really get a winter here?) gumbo has really been on my mind lately. I cant’ wait to put on a pot of gumbo filled with shrimp, andouille sausage, crabs, and ham(yummy.)
Most times when I visit the French Quarters which is often, I frequently encounter tourists who claim that even with a recipe, they can’t fix gumbo. I have decided to dedicate some time regarding the reason why the gumbo does not come out right (since it’s too hot to fix some right now.)
The secret to a good gumbo is the roux. It is the foundation of the gumbo, you mess up the roux, the gumbo is ruined. How to fix a good roux is very easy. If you have a cookbook, just follow the directions regarding how much flour and oil to use for the roux( I like to substitute butter for the oil, it’s just tastes better to me.)
Once you have that in the pot, the only thing you have to do to ensure a great roux is JUST STAND THERE AND CONTINUE TO STIR THAT POT!!!! DO NOT MOVE TO WATCH TV, GO TO THE BATHROOM, CHECK ON FIDO OR ANYTHING ELSE! STIR THAT POT CONSTANTLY THE ENTIRE TIME UNTIL THE ROUX IS THE COLOR YOU WANT IT TO BE. That is all there is to making a good roux, babysitting it until it is done. Constant stirring and mixing until it is the desired color( I like mine a dark color.) Once you have your roux done, you can continue with your recipe and you should have you some really banging gumbo!
Because I have been getting hits from folks trying to fix a ruined roux, let me add this…you CANNOT fix a ruined roux. If you notice that the roux did not come out right, throw it out and start over. It’s just flour and oil anyway and the money is in the meat you purchase so, just throw it out and begin again. Remember..constant stirring and do not leave the pot…should take 20-30 minutes for a good roux. For gumbo, you want a dark roux.