For ages now, I’ve been wanting to do a post on how to make a gumbo. The thing is, it all starts with a roux and I have never been successful at making one without burning it. The reason I can make a successful gumbo is because they sell jars of roux at the grocery store. This is recent though, I used to have to stock up on it while visiting family in Louisiana.

Gumbo is better with a homemade roux. Also, a lot of people who have been asking about how to make it live in places where they don’t sell roux. It doesn’t seem fair to tell you how to make gumbo with an ingredient you can’t buy.

So today I tried to make one and failed. Twice. The first time I failed, it was undercooked. I knew my chances of success with this thing were slim if I put it back on the fire. Tried it anyway. Failed. Burnt it. That is FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Repair).

Thing about it is, you have to take it off the fire before it is cooked because it continues to cook after the fire is off. You just have to know that exact color and consistency and guestimate when it will be done. If it is undercooked, your gumbo will taste like wallpaper glue. If it is burned, it will taste burnt. It would be a waste of time to make a gumbo with either. The window of time between uncooked and burnt is about 30 seconds. Maybe that’s just me, I do like a dark roux. Could be using the wrong pot or the flame is too high or too low.

Tomorrow I’ll try again. I will keep trying until I can do that gumbo post.

In the meantime, if you want to know how make a roux, go look at Jette’s post, “Make a Damn Roux.”

If you have any special roux making tips, please tell me. If you’ve made one, say with one cup of flour and one cup of oil, how long do you cook it? High or low fire? I’ve talked to people who make it in 5 minutes and others who make it in twenty.



19 thoughts on “FUBAR

  1. Well, I use butter, not oil. And I cook my roux on medium heat. I start by melting the butter and then slowly and evenly whisk in the flour, and I’m not afraid to pull it off the heat when it’s a light golden brown, because I am confident that it will darken up. While medium-low heat takes longer, I think it yields better results. Honestly, I’ve never had roux issues, but maybe butter is actually some kind of roux sacrilege and I never have problems because I’ve made a deal with the devil.

  2. I’ve been making roux since I was a child ( about 16 million times at least!)and never had any trouble. I thought you must be talking about some other roux that I hadn’t heard about, as it’s so easy. I do it like “meloukhia”, and I can’t see how it can fail.
    Go on Kitty, you know you can do it.

  3. My mom makes it without hardly watching it and on a high flame.
    I think it is a different kind of roux from yours and Meloukhia’s. I saw a cook make it on a cooking show yesterday and he was working with tablespoons of flour and oil. His did not end up as dark as the roux for gumbo or fricasse.

    Gumbo roux is chocolate colored when done. Also, you have to make lots of it,

  4. I tried Gumbo when I was in New Orleans, at the House of Blues, and have to say it scared me a little. I like to try all different types of food, but the Gumbo was a bit of a stretch for the ol’ taste buds.

    There was this little upstairs bar/restaurant though on the corner of Bourbon and Orleans Streets, sort of diagnally opposite the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, that made the nicest Jambalaya though. Love love loved it!

  5. I’m signed up to bring an entree for my department’s holiday potluck next week. I’d like to bring a big batch of gumbo and I really don’t care if I make the roux or buy it in a jar. Just help me and point me to the right recipe that will feed 40 people (roughly).

    Or, conversely, tell me I’m dumb for thinking gumbo and I should just do a meatless chili.

  6. Michele, I’ll try to tackle the roux again today.

    Thanks for the link, Ape. I bet you know how to make a roux, though. Spill, girl.

    Daily, I think it’s a great idea to bring a gumbo. I have fed gumbo to people who have never eaten it for 20 years now. Never had one person tell me they didn’t like it.

  7. I’ve got a much easier solution dailytri. Tell your boss to stop being such a “El Cheapo” at Christmas, and that he should take you all out for a meal instead as a “Thank You” for all your work this past year.

  8. “Gumbo is a funny word!”

    Glad you mentioned it. I always thought so too, Penguin. . It doesn’t sound French like the other Cajun words. Gumbo is a word that came with the Africans during the slave trade. They were actually the ones to invent this dish and it became a part of our culture.

    Hey Liv, if Daily brings this stuff to work, he’ll be running that company soon. : )
    You’ve had my gumbo, right?

  9. Kitty I had to respond to your blog on gumbo. You have the right receipt and you are doing the right thing practice makes perfect. If you do not like stirring on top of the stove. I have done it only one time in the oven.350 stir occasionaly. but takes like 2 hours, but it came out good. I had a friend over and they can stand for my word. Good luck. Hard work pays off.

  10. I have never heard of making a roux in the oven.
    Saw a recipe for dry roux yesterday, you just brown the flour, don’t add any oil. Great for people who like low fat gumbo.

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