About Cajun Rouxs
|Stocks may be thickened by means of reductions,
eggs, butter, vegetable purees, cream, foie
gras, various starches and even blood. In
classical French cuisine, the roux is the
primary thickening agent. Equal parts of
butter and flour are well blended over heat
to create a roux. This process may produce
rouxs of different colors and thickening
capabilities depending on the cook's need.
In Cajun and Creole cuisine, the roux has
been raised to a new dimension never before
experienced in other forms of cooking.
Butter, lard, peanut oil, bacon fat and even
duck fat have been used in combination with
flour to produce as many taste and color
variations as there are cooks in South Louisiana.
In classical cuisine, the brown roux is used
for brown sauce, the blonde roux for veloutes
and the white roux is used for bechamels.
In Creole cuisine, a brown roux is made from
butter or bacon fat and is used to thicken
gumbos and stews requiring a light touch.
The Cajuns, on the other hand, are the originators
of the most unique rouxs in modern cookery.
The Cajun dark brown roux is best made with
vegetable oil, although in the past, it was
thought imperative that only animal fat be
used. The flour and oil are cooked together
until the roux reaches a caramel color. This
roux has less thickening power, however,
due to the fact that the darker the roux
gets, the more the starch compound which
thickens liquid breaks down. Thus, the thickening
capabilities of the dark roux are diminished.
The dark brown roux is the secret to traditional
Cajun food because of the richness and depth
it adds to the dish. Butter is used in classical
and Creole rouxs, however, the Cajuns use
only vegetable oil or lard to produce their
lighter colored roux. Tan in appearance,
these light rouxs are used primarily with
vegetables and light meat dishes.
Nothing in Cajun country has a greater
than a light brown roux simmering with
celery, bell pepper and garlic. On
growing up in South Louisiana, my hunger
was satisfied with a touch of this
seasoned roux spread on a piece of
Bread. Certain gumbos are further thickened,
in Bayou country, with either okra
powder. Considering the variations
time and fats or oils, the number of
roux possibilities are infinite. I
to delineate six such rouxs, three
classical cuisine, one used in Creole
and two that are strictly Cajun.