You know, when it comes to making a mouthwatering gumbo, there’s one key player you can’t do without – that trusty Cajun-style roux! Sometimes, I absolutely relish the traditional method. Picture this: standing over the stove, stirring a mix of flour and oil in a good ol’ cast iron pan, patiently waiting until that perfect color reveals itself. And then, adding the holy trinity to slow down the cooking process. It’s a labor of love, but it does take its time, usually accompanied by three or four well-deserved beers, heating up the house, and that ever-present worry of burning the roux.
But what if I told you there’s a quicker, more foolproof way to achieve that delightful roux without all the sweat and stress? Enter the microwaved roux! It’s a game-changer – faster, with much less risk of that dreaded burnt flavor, and it won’t turn your kitchen into a sauna. So, you can spend less time by the stove and more time savoring your delicious gumbo!
Flour: One of the primary roles of flour in gumbo is to act as a thickening agent. Flour also plays a significant role in flavor development.
Fat: the type of fat/oil you choose for your gumbo’s roux can be like picking the perfect seasoning for your dish. It’s a bit of a flavor adventure! Different oils bring their own subtle tastes to the party, making your gumbo unique.
For a classic and mild touch, many Southern cooks go for vegetable oils like canola or peanut oil. These oils have a neutral flavor that lets the other ingredients shine, creating a well-balanced gumbo.
But, if you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to add a twist of smokiness, some chefs opt for other fats like bacon grease. It gives the gumbo a more pronounced, almost smoky flavor, which can be a delicious change of pace.
So, the choice of oil is like your culinary paintbrush, allowing you to add your own flavor strokes to the masterpiece that is gumbo. Whether you go classic or adventurous, it’s all about making your gumbo uniquely yours!
Holy Trinity: Picture this trio of veggies as the dynamic flavor trio, like the best friends of Cajun and Creole cooking. They consist of onions, bell peppers, and celery, and they’re like the secret sauce that makes gumbo taste so amazing! 🌶️🧅🌿
These aromatic veggies are the heart and soul of this cuisine, adding layers of flavor and a touch of Southern charm to your gumbo. They bring their unique personalities to the dish, making each bite an adventure.
Andouille Sausage: Andouille sausage is a smoked sausage with a unique and robust flavor. Its smokiness and spiciness add a bold and distinctive taste to the gumbo, contributing to the dish’s overall complexity. It’s like a flavor party in your mouth!
So, here’s the deal – we all love Andouille sausage in our gumbo, but sometimes, life throws us a curveball, and it’s not available where we live. Don’t worry, though! You can still whip up a fantastic gumbo using a substitute like a smoked sausage that you enjoy.
Chicken: in gumbo is like that secret flavor agent that takes the dish to a whole new level. When you cook it in the gumbo, something magical happens. The chicken soaks up all the rich, flavorful broth and Cajun seasonings, turning into this tender, savory goodness that adds depth and complexity to every spoonful.
Now, for today’s quick version, I’m taking a bit of a shortcut by using some leftover rotisserie chicken. It’s a handy way to whip up a delicious gumbo without spending hours in the kitchen. So, let’s keep it easy, and tasty, and enjoy every bite of that gumbo!
Cajun Seasoning: Oh, it’s like a little flavor party waiting to happen in your gumbo! 🎉 It’s this magical blend of herbs and spices that kicks your dish up a notch. Think of it as a flavor symphony with ingredients like paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, thyme, and oregano, plus a whole bunch of other secret flavor agents.
This seasoning mix is like the magician’s wand that adds depth, complexity, and a smidgen of spice to your gumbo, turning every bite into a delightful adventure for your taste buds.
Now, I’ve got my personal favorite, which is “Slap yo Mama,” but the beauty of cooking is that you can use the Cajun seasoning that makes your taste buds dance with joy. It’s all about making your gumbo uniquely yours and savoring those fantastic, bold flavors. So, go ahead, and spice it up your way!
Chicken stock: Oh, it’s like a flavor superhero in your gumbo! 🦸♂️ Picture it as this delicious liquid, made by simmering chicken bones, meat, and a bunch of aromatics. And when it joins the gumbo party, it brings along this rich and savory taste that makes the whole dish pop with flavor. It’s like giving your gumbo a big flavor hug!
But here’s the cool part: chicken stock isn’t just about taste. It’s also a texture magician. Depending on how much you add, it can be your go-to tool to fine-tune the gumbo’s consistency. Too thick? No worries, just add some stock to thin it out. Too thin? You can pour in more stock to give it that hearty, satisfying texture. It’s all about finding that perfect gumbo groove that suits your taste.
So, chicken stock isn’t just an ingredient; it’s a flavor enhancer and a texture whisperer that helps you create the gumbo of your dreams!
What is a Cajun Roux
Do you know what really jazzes up Cajun and Creole cuisine? It’s our trusty sidekick – Cajun roux! This magical concoction plays a starring role in delicious dishes like gumbo, stews, and fricassees. Picture it as a dynamic duo of fat (usually oil or butter) and flour, working their culinary magic together. They’re not just any sidekicks, though; they’re here to thicken things up and provide the flavorful foundation these dishes crave.
And, oh, the roux has its own style! It rocks a charming shade of brown, ranging from a light, toasty hue to a deep, soulful brown, depending on how long it dances in the pot. So, whether it’s a subtle soft-shoe shuffle or a full-on Cajun two-step, this roux knows how to set the stage for some mouthwatering Southern cuisine!
Cajun Roux vs a French Roux
Cajun roux and French roux are cousins, similar but with their own unique personalities! Let’s explore the differences in a friendly way:
- Cajun Roux: Picture a Cajun roux as a dark, mysterious beauty. It ranges from a lovely light brown to a deep, almost chocolate brown, depending on the dish and the chef’s artistic touch. The darker it gets, the more intense the flavor!
- French Roux: French roux is a bit more like a chameleon. It comes in three shades: white, blond, and brown. White roux is a quickie and stays pale, like a sun-kissed beach. Blond roux is slightly tanned, having spent more time under the culinary sun. And brown roux is the deep tan from a long day at the beach. French roux adjusts to suit the recipe’s needs, and it usually keeps things on the lighter side.
- Cajun Roux: Now, the flavor! Cajun roux is the life of the party, thanks to its longer cooking time. It’s bold, with an almost smoky charisma. Think of it as adding a bit of jazz to your Cajun and Creole dishes, creating a complex and exciting flavor profile.
- French Roux: French roux, especially the white and blond ones, are like the polite, well-mannered guests at the dinner table. They’re there to thicken things up but not to steal the show. The brown roux, though, does have a nuttier personality, but it’s still not as intense as its Cajun cousin.
- Cajun Roux: Cajun roux has its spotlight in Cajun and Creole cuisine, where it’s the star of the show in dishes like gumbo, étouffée, and jambalaya. It’s both the thickening agent and the life of the flavor party!
- French Roux: The French roux is like a versatile actor, fitting into many different roles. It’s a key player in classical French cuisine and other Western cuisines. You’ll find it thickening sauces, soups, and gravies in various recipes, from velvety béchamel to smooth velouté.
So, in a nutshell, Cajun roux and French roux are like two friends who both bring something special to the kitchen. Cajun roux adds a rich, dark, and bold flavor to Southern dishes, while French roux offers versatility and subtlety to a wide range of European and Western recipes.
How to make a roux in the microwave
Want to whip up some roux in a flash? Here’s how to do it in your microwave, all while keeping things simple and safe.
First, grab a microwave-safe dish with a handle. I prefer a one-to-one ratio of flour to oil but feel free to adjust the oil quantity to your liking. I use my trusty Pyrex measuring cup, but remember, not all Pyrex is microwave-safe, so check your dish.
Pop that dish in the microwave and set the timer for five minutes. When the timer is done, take it out, but be careful, that dish and mixture are hot! Now, a little tip: since microwaves can vary in power, you might want to start with four minutes and adjust as you get to know your microwave’s superpowers.
Put it back in for a quick two-minute session, give it a stir, and start doing one-minute sessions. After each round, stir thoroughly. You’ll notice your mixture starting to turn that lovely shade of brown.
Keep this up until your roux is the perfect color for your dish. Now, it’s time for the “Holy Trinity.” These aromatic friends will release a little steam when you add them. Give it a good stir and let your roux cool down.
Oh, here’s the secret: dishes made with roux always taste better the next day. And if you accidentally push your roux too far or it smells burnt, it can turn bitter, so don’t hesitate to toss it and start fresh.
So, go ahead, embrace the microwave roux magic, and savor that delicious dish you’re about to create!
Let’s make our Simple Gumbo
So, now that we’ve mastered the microwave roux, it’s time to dive into the world of simple gumbo-making. Ready? Here we go!
Start by getting a pot nice and cozy on the stove. Now, toss in some sliced Andouille sausage and let it sizzle and brown up. Oh, the aroma is pure heaven!
Now, here’s a little trick I like to use: after the sausage is all cooked up, I grab a paper towel and give it a gentle pat to remove any excess oil. It’s not a must-do, but it’s my little secret for keeping things on the lighter side.
Now, it’s time to add some key players to our pot – the pre-cooked chicken, a splash of chicken stock, a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning, and a little extra dash of granulated garlic. It’s like adding layers of flavor one step at a time.
We bring this magical mix to a gentle simmer, and as it starts to bubble with anticipation, we’re ready to introduce our microwave roux. But here’s the trick – add it a little at a time, and you can watch your gumbo’s thickness transform right before your eyes. It’s all about getting it just the way you like it.
Don’t forget to give your gumbo a quick taste, and if it needs a little extra love in the seasoning department, go ahead and adjust it to perfection.
We’re getting closer to gumbo greatness, my friend. Stay tuned for more yumminess!
How to serve your gumbo?
- Choice of Bowl: Gumbo is traditionally served in bowls. Choose a bowl that’s large enough to hold a generous serving of gumbo without overflowing.
- Rice Bed: Start by placing a scoop of cooked white rice at the bottom of each serving bowl. The rice serves as a flavorful base and helps balance the richness of the gumbo.
- Ladle Gumbo: Use a ladle to scoop the gumbo from the pot and pour it over the rice. Make sure each bowl gets a good mix of all the delicious ingredients, including the proteins, vegetables, and that flavorful roux.
- Garnish: Gumbo is often garnished with fresh green onions (also known as scallions) and parsley. These add a burst of color and a touch of freshness to the dish. Sprinkle some chopped green onions and parsley on top of each serving.
- Hot Sauce: If you like a little extra kick, consider serving hot sauce on the side. Some people enjoy adding a dash of hot sauce to their gumbo for an extra layer of flavor and heat.
- Crusty Bread: A nice piece of crusty bread or a warm roll on the side can be a great accompaniment to your gumbo. It’s perfect for sopping up the flavorful broth.
- Potato Salad: Ah, potato salad and gumbo, they’re like culinary buddies in some parts of the world. You see, it’s pretty common to serve a scoop of potato salad alongside your gumbo. The cool, creamy potato salad adds a refreshing contrast to the rich and hearty gumbo. It’s like a little yin and yang on your plate. Now, here’s the fun twist: some folks even go a step further and plop a dollop of potato salad right on top of their gumbo. But hold on, this move can create quite the debate in gumbo-loving circles. Some say it’s a brilliant flavor combination, while others might raise an eyebrow or two.
- Enjoy: Now, it’s time to savor the flavors. Gumbo is a dish best enjoyed slowly, so take your time, and relish every bite. The combination of savory roux, aromatic spices, tender proteins, and hearty rice is a true Southern comfort.
Whether you’re serving gumbo to guests or enjoying it yourself, it’s a comforting and flavorful dish that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds. So, dig in and savor the deliciousness!
Can you freeze leftover gumbo?
- Cool It Down: Allow the leftover gumbo to cool to room temperature. It’s important to cool it down before freezing to prevent condensation and ice crystals from forming inside the container.
- Portion It: Divide the gumbo into smaller portions that are suitable for your needs. You can use airtight containers, resealable plastic bags, or even freezer-safe mason jars. Leave some space at the top to allow for expansion as the gumbo freezes.
- Label and Date: Don’t forget to label each container with the date of freezing and a description of the contents. This helps you keep track of how long it has been stored in the freezer and makes meal planning more straightforward.
- Freeze It: Place the containers in the freezer. If you’re using resealable bags, try to remove as much air as possible before sealing. Lay them flat in the freezer to save space.
- Thaw and Reheat: When you’re ready to enjoy your gumbo, remove the container from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, you can reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave. Make sure it’s heated to a safe temperature (165°F or 74°C) before serving.
- Adjust Consistency: Gumbo can thicken as it freezes, so you might need to adjust the consistency by adding a little chicken stock or water during the reheating process.
- Enjoy: Once your gumbo is hot and ready, serve it just as you would with a freshly cooked batch. It should maintain its delicious flavors and be as enjoyable as the day you made it.
Properly frozen gumbo can typically be kept in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Enjoy your homemade gumbo whenever the craving strikes!
- 1/2 Cup Flour
- 1/2 Cup Oil
- 1/2 each Onion
- 1/2 each Bell pepper
- 2 stalks Celery
- 8 oz Andouille sausage
- 2 each Chicken thighs
- 4 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
Make a Roux
- In a microwave-safe dish combine 1/2 cup of cooking oil and 1/2 cup of flour.1/2 Cup Flour, 1/2 Cup Oil
- Microwave on high power for 5 minutes, then carefully give it a stir.
- Microwave on high power for 2 minutes, then carefully give it a stir.
- Microwave on high power for 5 minutes, then carefully give it a stir. Continue 1 minute at a time until the roux is the color that you want.
- Add your vegetables to the roux and stir to combine. (careful and expect steam).1/2 each Onion, 1/2 each Bell pepper, 2 stalks Celery
Cook the Gumbo
- To a pan on medium heat add the diced chicken and Andouille sausage along with some of the Cajun Seasoning.8 oz Andouille sausage, 2 each Chicken thighs
- Cook until the sausage and chicken has some color. Add 4 cups of chicken stock and the rest of the Cajun Seasoning. Bring to a slow boil.4 Cups Chicken Stock, 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
- Add the roux and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Serve over rice.