If you ask me, a dark Cajun roux is the secret ingredient that is the single most important building block of Cajun cooking. So important, that for your convenience, we developed a jarred product we call Rox’s Roux–the deepest, darkest, and richest commercially available roux. This product will add consistency and quality to any Cajun roux-based recipe.
So, what’s all the fuss about a Cajun roux? To find out, we urge you to make a roux from scratch and discover the lost art of roux-making, a roots cooking technique essential to Cajun and Creole culture. My wife Roxanne will show you how in a step-by-step video that will give you every one of Rox’s roux-making secrets. Take a look by clicking below.
Making a dark Cajun roux from scratch is a dying art. Not too many years ago, there wasn’t a Cajun or Creole household in South Louisiana that didn’t have the unmistakably intense aroma of a dark roux, in all its glory, wafting through the kitchen. Home cooks were taught basic roux-making skills early on, and it was a rite of passage to pass it on to the next generation.
Times have changed.
With the proliferation of jarred and powdered roux products, as well as packaged gumbo mixes, the art of roux making is slowly dying off. Don’t get me wrong, some prepared roux products like Rox’s Roux are very good, and I use them myself. But, there is no substitute for the ritual of making a homemade roux from scratch, and I believe it is the obligation — no, responsibility — of roux makers to hand down this timeless artisan skill to their children. I know my wife has.
Rox can make a roux.
As deep and dark as blackstrap molasses and just as rich.
My wife Roxanne doesn’t cook every night nor does she profess to be a culinary artisan, but she is one of the best natural cooks I know. For her roux, she follows a strict set of guidelines handed down from generations of good Cajun cooks before her. She was born and raised in Jennings, Louisiana, and I sometimes tease her that her grandmother’s black iron pot and well-worn, wooden gumbo spoon were her dowry. Truth be told, to her they are significantly more valuable than anything money could buy.
On a cold Winter day, she can work magic in that pot with a roux-infused chicken and sausage gumbo like none other I’ve tasted. A roux is the foundation on which gumbo is based. Rox’s roux is nursed and nourished with a serious attention to detail that defies logic. It’s as if my wife goes into a semi-lucid state of consciousness that is mesmerizing. She stirs and stirs. And focuses on color, texture and smell. For over an hour, she stirs. No phone calls, no conversations, no distractions whatsoever.
White, cream, beige, tan, brown, mahogany, and beyond.
There is an instinctive point of departure — a point of no return that she pushes beyond. A less brave or sure-handed cook would stop short of perfection. She has the confidence and courage to pursue that hauntingly dark depth of a rich chocolate-colored roux. Hershey bar chocolate is the terminus, and anything more is burnt and destined for the disposal.
With her wooden spoon scepter in her right hand, my gumbo queen rules the kitchen.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups oil, such as vegetable oil
- A Cajun roux starts out in a large cast iron pot over medium heat. With no distractions and approximately one hour of time at your disposal, begin by adding the flour and oil.
- With a long-handled wooden spoon, begin to stir. Constant stirring and moving the flour around the bottom of the pot is the key to browning the flour evenly to prevent burning. This early stage will go slowly as you begin to see the white flour take on a beige and then a tan color.
- Continue stirring slowly and evenly, scraping the bottom and the circular crevices of the pot to move the flour around in the hot oil.
- At about the half-hour mark, you will begin to see a brown color developing and smell the first hints of toasted flour. This is where the stirring becomes even more crucial.
- At this point, you begin to enter the quickly developing phase where the least bit of inattention could result in burnt flecks of flour appearing – a sure sign you’ve ruined the roux. Watch your heat and lower it if the roux is cooking too fast.
- Constant stirring to keep the flour from staying in one place too long prevents burning. You will begin to smell an even nuttier aroma as you see the color turn darker mahogany. Most stop here, but you will keep going until you achieve a deeper, darker chocolatey consistency and color.
- Forget time at this point since you are now cooking by instinct, sight and smell. The utmost attention is needed to your stirring, and when you see that Hershey chocolate darkness, you will know you have arrived.
- Turn off the heat, but continue stirring until it begins to cool down and quits cooking.
- Spoon the roux into a bowl and let cool.
Where Can I Buy Rox’s Roux?
Rox’s Roux is available online in our Acadiana Table STORE or at the following South Louisiana retailers:
3002 Verot School Rd, Lafayette, LA 70508
111 E Main St, Broussard, LA 70518
456 Heymann Blvd, Lafayette, LA 70503
Champagne’s Market in the Oil Center
454 Heymann Blvd, Lafayette, LA 70503
403 Rena Drive, Lafayette, LA 70503
124 N. Morgan Av., Broussard, LA 70518
819 E Broussard Rd Suite 101, Lafayette, LA 70508
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Vicki Cannon says
So true about making a roux!
This is so interesting; keep ’em coming.
DAN MORRIS says
I am from the west. My dad was from Louisiana. Our mom learned to make gumbo to make dad happy. I recently purchased three bottles of your product. Help…I do not know know to use your product.
George Graham says
Hey Dan – Thanks for buying Rox’s Roux. There are plenty of delicious roux-based recipes on the blog and in both of my cookbooks. I recommend you start with a chicken and sausage gumbo. Have fun learning to cook Cajun. All the best.
Debra L Sunn says
Find out what size gumbo you want to make . Brown your chicken in the pot and take it out and set aside. You can make a roux from say 1/2 cup flour to 1/2 cup oil . So if you bought it premade it’s best you take a sauce pan and place your rox’s roux about a cup in the the pan add some boiling water and mix it together well then add it to your chicken sauted onions, green pepper and celery. If you use fresh parsley sautee’ that also in your cooking pot pour the roux and water mixture over the chicken, and veggies stirring it in well and add chicken broth or stock and some white wine(about a cup) or just stock or water and wine or broth , however you like .Add your smoked sausage. Boil for an hour or so at least I like to boil for two hours. Now that you see and feel what a roux looks like, its texture etc. You can begin to practice your own roux. Buy a large bottle of cheap cooking oil and a bag of regular flour. Make this on a medium or medium low heat. Keep at it for about an hour. One tiny fleck of burnt flour will ruin a roux. Stir nonstop with a flat wooden spoon. If you want to pull back before it is super dark, that’s totally fine. Pull your pot off the heat if it’s an electric stove or turn the flame off when using a gas stove and immediately begin stirring until your roux has cooled.
There are careful instructions above from Roxy herself. Deep breath, you can do this. And begin to practice making your own roux. Make them and throw them out after they cool off until you have it down right. Do throw your practice roux in some type of container that does not leak and that is not plastic and has aid. Do not ever salt your roux. Never ever. Let me know how you’re doing. Have a glass of that wine and relax while learning . Please do not start a kitchen fire because you’ve gone beyond a slow sip of ONE glass of wine. Lol! Give some wine to the chicken and a glass to yourself ! We are very relaxed people here. I forgot to tell ya to skim the fat off the top.
Once made, how do I best store any remaining roux? I’ve just made my first roux while preparing to make your Creole meatball in red gravy dish.
George Graham says
Hey Chris- Roux is easy to store, after all, it is simply flour and oil, both of which are shelf stable. That said, you will find Cajun cooks that will keep an open jar out next to the stove just like a can of bacon grease. They’ll use it often to spoon some roux into a pot roast or pork chop gravy to thicken it and add flavor. Others like to refrigerate opened jars of roux, and that is okay, too. I don’t recommend freezing the jars because of the glass breakage risk, and it will take some time to thaw out when ready to use. I hope this helps.
Larry Mankoff says
This will be the first time I’ve used the Acadian Kitchen roux. I’m wondering if I should drain off the oil that has settled on top of the roux or try to stir it in before I use it for my gumbo…
George Graham says
Larry- Don’t stir it in. It is natural for the oil to rise to the top. The oil is there to preserve flavor and prevent the jarred roux from drying out. If you are not using the entire jar, keep the oil on top of the remaining roux. If you do intend to use the whole jar, I like to use the oil on top to saute my vegetables. It adds flavor and doesn’t go to waste. All the best.
Mary T says
George, when we were back in Lafayette I made a special trip to Champagne to get some Rox’s Roux. But not sure how to use it for gumbo. Normally I would make my own roux and then add the onions and green peppers to the dark roux to cool the roux and sauté the vegetables in the roux Can I just cook the vegetables in Rox Roux?
George Graham says
Mary – Go ahead and saute your vegetables and add the rest of your ingredients. Then add the stock and the roux. It will cook down, dissolve, and thicken the gumbo. All the best.
Laurie Craver says
My favorite food dark gravy!
I made a chocolate roux for my gumbo the other day. I added the vegetables to it and then the proteins. I cooled it down and stored it in the refrigerator to use the next day. When I reheated it the next day, the gumbo was thin and the roux appeared to break. What did I do wrong?
George Graham says
Rick, As I follow your steps, you left out adding stock (or water). I will assume that you did to complete making your gumbo. The short answer is that the incorporation of liquid and roux is the crucial step to prevent “breaking” the roux.
My long-winded answer is as follows: It is important that the ratio of roux to liquid (water or stock) is enough to incorporate the roux (flour and oil) to the desired thickness. Some folks cook roux and immediately add the vegetables and protein, but I prefer to make the roux and reserve for later. First, I saute the vegetables and the protein (chicken, sausage , but not seafood) and then add the stock. Then I spoon some of the roux into the hot liquid and cook until it thickens. If I want it thicker, I simply add more of the reserved roux. I cook my gumbo for a couple of hours on simmer until finished. Then I let it cool and refrigerate, if I am serving the next day. I hope this helps.
Linda Gale says
After many ‘stand and stir’ roux sessions, I experimented until I created an “oven roux.” To my wannabe Cajun/Creole taste buds, it is just as good as the slow-cook and stir method — and much easier. I also experimented with the oils that I used in the roux and found my favorite combination was equal parts of corn oil, peanut oil, and butter (sacrilege!) This combination takes the ‘nuttiness’ of a roux a few notches further and adds that little ‘mystery’ about the gumbo flavor.
I use a heavy 6-qt pot and add the oils to fill it about 1/3 full, then stir in flour until it has a semi-thick consistency that is fairly easy to stir, but not so thin that it sloshes around in the pot when I am stirring. I try not to fill the pot any more than 1/2 to 5/8th full – so the napalm remains in the pot and not in my oven – or on me! A heavy duty wire whisk makes quick work of mixing the flour and oil. I’d guess that the proportions are more like 1-1/2 cups flour and 3/4 cup oil. The 1 cup flour, 1 cup oil standard is too thin, without enough ‘body’ to hold the mixture, so it breaks down into flour on bottom and oil on top, until the flour finally starts to absorb some of the oil and the mixture ‘thickens’.
It ‘bakes’ (without a lid) in a 325 degree oven – for at least 3 to 4 hours, preferably 4-5, to get that nice dark color we like. At the beginning, I carefully stir the roux every 30 minutes, as it is slow to begin showing any color. As it goes through the color changes, stir more often, until, when a mahogany brown color, I stir every 10 minutes, or as needed. I’m always careful to scrape the bottom of the pot, and carefully mix the ‘bottom to top’ layers through.
Once in the oven, you’re free to prep gumbo ingredients (if you plan to use a portion of the roux for dinner), start French bread dough in your bread machine (with plans to bake it just before the gumbo is ready), or just put your feet up and read a good book or binge on that series you’ve been wanting to watch. BE SURE TO SET YOUR TIMER to remind you to stir the roux at the appropriate times!
When the roux has reached the desired color, I remove it from the oven and let it stand, with a piece of foil just laid over the top to cover (not pressed over the sides), and let it cool down. The roux spoons into jars much easier if it is just pleasantly ‘warm’, so it oozes into the jar and doesn’t leave any empty spots. The quart jars are always freshly washed and rinsed (with boiling water), then carefully dried or allowed to sit at an angle upside down to ‘drip dry’.
Lids are placed on loosely until the roux is room temperature, to avoid any condensation, then tightened before storage.
Once cool, the jars of roux are kept refrigerated, and they last ‘almost forever’ – certainly at least 1-2 years, and probably beyond that, though I usually use them up, (or gift to lazy friends) before really lengthy storage. It can also be frozen – for much longer, but I would advise packing the chilled roux in vacuum sealed bags. You can even portion out the amount needed for recipes, and freeze these amounts in a small Ziplock ‘snack bag’.
To use the roux: spoon out as much as the recipe calls for. The combination of 1 cup oil and 1 cup flour is surprisingly just a little more than 1 cup! So, use about 1-1/8 to 1-1/4 cup of prepared roux for 1:1 oil/flour in a recipe – a heaping half cup of roux or about 5/8 cup for a 1/2:1/2 mix, etc. Or, add a tablespoon or two to other recipes when you need a nicely browned, slightly caramelized flavor. I think the ‘average’ cook will find this a very easy way to enjoy Cajun and Creole flavors without all the time in the kitchen.
Here’s how I do a REALLY QUICK GUMBO: Peel and clean the veggies, then Chop the onion in large chunks, then measure it in a cup, then mound it on the cutting board. This will give you an approximation of the amount of onion and celery you’ll need for “1 cup”, but you’ll need to add just a bit more since the chunky onion didn’t fill all the spaces in the cup. Make two mounds of onion and celery, the same size, then make one mound of chunked green pepper that is HALF the size. Mix the veggies on the board a little bit, then toss into a food processor and pulse until a little chunky. Reserve this in a bowl.
Without cleaning the food processor bowl, drop the needed amount of garlic down the chute top to finely mince it, then add parsley and green onion. (To learn this ‘by eye’ method: crush a handful of parsley, and press it into a measuring cup to see how much ‘not chopped’ parsley is required to fill the measuring cup. Chop green onion into 1 inch pieces to ‘measure’. Once you have these images in your mind, you can just grab what you need, drop it into the food processor, and puree.)
I like to brown the chicken and sausage, so it removes some of the fat, and remove it to a plate until I get the rest of the gumbo cooking. You can get this started while you get the veggies ready, if you can ‘multi task’ well. Follow the recipe and add the amount of homemade roux, then the onion, celery and green pepper mix, and cook to lightly brown the veggies and caramelize them. Add the parsley, green onion and garlic next, to cook briefly in the roux (so the garlic doesn’t burn) – and then add the stock, seasonings, and lastly, the chicken and sausage. Adjust seasonings to taste, and let simmer until chicken is tender.
We used to live in Houston, and it was only 2-1/2 hours to run over to Lafayette for lunch, and just another hour to NOLA. At least every other month, we’d make the trip, often staying overnight or for the weekend, so we could drive all the back roads and investigate all the mom and pop cafes, and the grocery stores (especially their meat and seafood sections). We never came home empty handed: boudain and andouille from Best Stop was at the top of our ‘take home’ list, and we always filled two large ice chests. (Glad to see you like Best Stop, too, George! It’s been consistently a winner for the 30 years we’ve shopped there!)
One weekend, we sampled all the boudain makers in the area around Lafayette and S. Louisiana, enjoying a dollop of hot, steamy boudain on a cracker, with a few drops of mustard. Heavenly! And thank heavens, most ‘off the track’ mom and pops had a single packet of crackers for sale in a box – just right for snack size. Or, you could enjoy a Cajun seven course dinner’ – 6 boudain and a bottle of beer – under a shady tree dripping with moss. We did a ‘gumbo challenge’ in NOLA – and found that not all gumbos are alike – or even good enough to serve to clueless tourists – and oddly in establishments that were “supposedly” reknowned for their gumbo!
Such fond memories! I hope you find my suggestions help!
Linda Gale says
OOPS! Forgot to add that the ‘oven method’ is also fantastic for slow cooking stews, beans and chili! Just be sure you keep all the moisture in the pot by topping it with a piece of foil, then putting a tight lid on top. You can put a pot of chili in the oven, go to the game, and come back to a hot and ready dinner! Easier to clean than a slow cooker, too!
George Graham says
LINDA – Very well articulated and detailed steps for an alternative way of making roux. My philosophy is that any method that arrives at a deep, dark, rich Cajun roux is a winner. Thanks for sharing.
James D says
Hog lard if you really want a flavor roux!