Monday, April 3, 2017

It Really *Is* All About The Roux

A long time ago, Jane managed to snag one of those church cookbook compilations at the Shilshole book exchange.  What made this one special was that it was from Cajun Country...  yep, Nawlins.  It seems that almost every recipe in it starts out with something like, "Fry three strips of bacon.  Eat the bacon, and make a roux with the bacon fat."

So, if you're not into the best cooking the USA has to offer, what's a roux?   It is where you brown some flour in fat.  Done properly, it takes a while - up to or more than an hour, in fact.  But oh is it worth it!


Jane subscribed to a magazine a while back (that I can recommend for a whole bunch of reasons, not least of which is that they use the scientific method extensively in creating recipies...) called "Cooks Illustrated."

It just so happens that this month's addition addressed in one article Cajun cooking's most treasured ingredient:  the roux.  Cutting to the chase, here's the short version:  Instead of standing over a hot frying pan for an hour stirring a mixture of flour and bacon fat, toast the flour in your oven, and use the bacon fat elsewhere in the recipe.  

I made this chicken gumbo for dinner Saturday nite, and oh my goodness, was it good!

I toasted the flour at home in our house oven (I did it in a pie pan, and actually, I toasted much more than I needed, because I anticipated that I'd be making something needing a roux again...).  And then I completed the recipe on board Eolian.

Oh. My. Goodness.

If you try the recipe above, I found that a half recipe was more than enough to feed three...  we'll actually use it to feed four (two, twice).

Oh, and here's a recommendation:  subscribe to Cook's Illustrated.  You'll never have a boring meal again, nor will you have one that requires that you get every pot dirty either.


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