Cajun cooking seems like a delectable treat you can only have if you go to south Louisiana. But that is not so. There are a few secrets to Cajun cooking that when revealed anyone anywhere can create fabulous gumbos, stews and ettouffes. First you make a roux.
Roux is pronounced “roo”. Roux is the base of Cajun gumbos and stews. Once you know how to prepare this essential element you’re on your way to creating mouth watering dishes that you and your family will enjoy eating. You will need a large, heavy pot. I use a 5 quart black cast iron pot. You will also need a long handled wooden cooking spoon. The only ingredients needed are equal parts of oil and flour.
Making the roux is a fairly easy process. I like to make a lot at one time and store it in a tightly sealed jar until needed. This way you can begin cooking right away. If you use roux already made just put two large tablespoons full into your pot and add the vegetables. I use 4 cups flour and 4 cups oil, either cooking oil or olive oil will do. For a beginner try 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup oil. Put the oil and flour in the pot over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon and keep stirring. As the ingredients heat up the flour will change color. The roux is done when the flour/oil mixture is a dark brown. I like my roux to be the color of an old penny. This process takes anywhere from 30-50 minutes.
Once your roux is done you can go on to the next step of preparing your dish. If you make the roux ahead of time you can prepare Cajun foods much faster. If you are going to make the gumbo right away add the chopped vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, and celery. Stir constantly until the onions turn clear, adding water as needed. Then add chicken and sausage along with more water, real salt and cayenne pepper. Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve in a bowl over hot rice and eat like soup.
Recipe For Roux
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oil
Large, heavy pot
1 cup measuring cup
1. Put oil and flour in large, heavy pot.
2. Turn heat to medium.
3. Stir until flour and oil are completely combined.
4. Stir frequently, almost constantly until the mixture reaches a dark brown color.
5. Set aside for later use or begin your gumbo.