Monday, May 17, 2010

New Orleans Cooking Experience: Making a Roux

One of the things we did while we were down there was take an authentic New Orleans cooking class -- and it was absolutely delicious.  The most important thing we learned, which can (and usually is) the base for a lot of meals there is the roux.  She suggests that you "be in the mood to cook" when you start a roux, because once you start.. you have to see it through the color changes and constantly watch it.. then you can set it aside and use it as the basis for everything else.

Preparation is key.

Bell Peppers*
1.5 cups of flour
1 cup oil (virgin olive oil, or veggie is fine)
warm water

*Onions, celery, and bell peppers make up what she calls the Holy Trinity of cajun cooking.

1.  Cut up all the vegetables, the amount and size are a personal preference.
2.  Oil and flour portions are in favor of the flour.  Use a heavy bottomed pot (aluminum or cast iron).  Mix oil and flour together on a medium-high fire.  Stir constantly with a flat wooden spoon (a roux spoon).  In about 10 minutes the mixture will start to brown.
--> The ideal color of a roux is a very deep dark brown (like the color of the bayou after a big rain)
3.  When you're nearing that color, turn the fire down b/c you don't want to burn the roux.

3.  When you think the color is almost right, add the onions --> this will help darken the color even more.
4.  After a few minutes, add the other veggies and stir often for another 15 minutes or so. 
5.  Gradually add warm water until the pot is 1/2 full.  Let this simmer on a low fire for at least 30 minutes.  Season with salt and cayenne.  

**If you're using this for seafood, simmer for an hour before adding seafood.

Below is our wonderful instructor, Boo.  She was hilarious, and had amazing stories of growing up in Bogalusa, LA.  I even tried (and loved) the seafood dishes she prepared for us!  Those are coming up.

And of course, one of the best things about the cooking class was that there was no shortage of wine/beer for us, and were able to help in any capacity as we liked.. which usually was just sitting back and smelling how amazing everything was over wine.  Loves it.


bananas. said...

oh how i wish i could eat nola styled home cooking. i can smell the aromas just looking at those pics. deeeee-lish!

shari @ little blue deer said...

I love Cajun cooking! My dad used to go shrimping in Nola with one of his salesmen, who was TOTALLY Cajun, I mean, I met his parents, and truly, you couldn't even understand what they were saying, so strong was their patois. Anyway, this guy passed on his recipes, and hence Dad is one of the best Cajun chefs I know! Hooray for dark roux!

Sarah M said...

Shari -- that's awesome your dad is a cajun cook! I would have LOVED growing up in that household! When I learn more about the cooking style we should swap recipes!

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