Roux took forever to darken.

We made Emeril's gumbo yesterday, and while it was delicious, the roux took forever and never made it to the brown, chocolatey stage after an hour of cooking (the recipe claimed it would do so in about 25 minutes. Thoughts? We used 3/4 cup of canola oil to 1 1/2 cups of flour, stirring constantly over medium heat. (My husband and I tagged team the whisk!

  • Posted by: Lunar
  • February 4, 2013


drbabs February 5, 2013
I've known Emeril for a long time. My brother was manager of Commander's Palace when Emeril was chef there. They were in each other's weddings. He's quite a good chef, and his early cookbooks are wonderful decadent takes on great Louisiana cooking. He's probably just spread out really thin at this point, and who knows if he even looks at the recipes that they attribute to him on the Food Network website?
pierino February 5, 2013
I suspect Drbabs is right. Even Bourdain has apologized for referring to him as "the Ewoklike Emeril Lagasse". But thin? Yes, definitely. On "Emeril Live" he would demonstrate things that he was clearly clueless at making, like fresh pasta. I remember seeing him demonstrate the way to begin pasta from scratch and his well broke because it was too thin and he just walked away saying "don't worry about that [because we have interns to clean up the mess]" and then went to a tray of stunt pasta. Do you remember "Emerilware"? "I designed it myself." You can probably buy it by the pound now along with Rachel Ray's knives.
I didn't watch the Super Bowl but I was glad to see that real New Orleans cooks and food got a couple of weeks of exposure on the morning news shows.
Lunar February 4, 2013
I never was a huge Emeril fan, but I don't think he's fake at heart...after all, not just anyone makes it to chef at Commander's. Love Paul Prudhomme as well. I realize Emeril is a corporate chef these days, but I had a wonderful lunch at his eponymous resto in New Orleans last year. I'm curious about the Cajun Napalm...everything else seems to emphasize low to moderate heat.
pierino February 4, 2013
First of all, I'm a skeptic of anything Emeril cooks, period. As others have said, it does take time and attention and that oil really does need to be very hot. When you add in the flour you probably should be wearing long sleeves and gloves. Paul Prudohmme, who is a real, not pretend New Orleans cook like Emeril, calls it "Cajun Napalm"...that is if that roux splashes on you it's going to stick and burn like a MF. I go with the cast iron skillet method myself.
ChefJune February 5, 2013
First of all, Emeril is NOT a "pretend New Orleans chef." Granted he's not a native, but he's the real deal. The darker the roux, the longer it's going to take to achieve the proper color. 45 minutes is not long enough if you're doing it on top the stove by hand. The oven method is much more efficient as you can be prepping other components of your dish while the roux browns. And equal parts of fat and flour ais the traditional formula for the roux. I think OP had way too much flour to oil. I no longer use TFN recipes without cross referencing them with another source. They mostly don't work.
Patti I. February 4, 2013
I make gumbo with a dark roux all of the time. To do that I use: 1 c. all purpose flour and 1 c. vegetable oil. Keep the oil to flour ratio in the same proportions.
Traditional Skillet Method: Black cast iron skillet is preferred but if not regular skillet or Dutch oven will do. Heat oil & gradually add flour over medium heat, stirring constantly until roux is dark brown. REMEMBER constant stirring
is required to keep from burning. You’re looking for a caramel to dark chocolate brown color. The darker the roux the more intense the flavor.
Microwave Method: Mix oil & flour in 8 c. glass container. Using a whisk to mix. Micro high 10-12 minutes removing & stirring frequently. (1 to 2 minute intervals and 30 seconds as it is starting to darken.) Keep watching it through the Microwave window because it can bubble up and overflow. Once mixture turns a caramel color watch closely as roux will cook quickly. Continue cooking & stirring until brownness is achieved.

We compared the skillet and microwave methods when we were making some big batches and couldn't tell the difference. I usually use the microwave method. It may not be much faster but I get few burns.

If you have oil on top of your gumbo after it is cooked (I usually do) spoon it off or use a paper towel to absorb it.
hardlikearmour February 4, 2013
I make the whole roux in the oven - 350-375, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. It takes a long time - an hour and a quarter or so - but it's mostly hands off, and much harder to burn the roux that way. I will stir more frequently when it gets close to play it safe. You can make a double batch if you'd like, and store in the freezer. I generally use a little more flour than oil - 1 cup oil to 1 1/4 cups flour.
hardlikearmour February 4, 2013
PS. I used to make roux on the stove top, and it would take a good 45 minutes at med-high heat to get a "brick" roux. 45 minutes of constant stirring!
aargersi February 4, 2013
Have you ever tried roasting your flour! Save yourself an arm - just stick a pan of flour in the oven at 350 and stir every 15-20 minutes for about an hour and a half - test it by mixing a dab with a drop of oil to see how dark it is. Make a big batch and store it in the pantry for a ready base whnever you need a roux. And I use a 50/50 ratio of flour and oil too ...
Laurence A. February 4, 2013
Start with medium high heat, add the oil and allow to heat about 10 seconds then add the flour and crank the heat to high. Whisk continuously, but not vigorously as any splatter will burn. . . trust me. As the roux starts to darken, start lowering the heat so it doesn't get out of control and burn. By the time it get to a very dark stage the heat should be medium low.
Lunar February 4, 2013
Thank you, all. It got to a warm caramel color before we decided to continue with the recipe. I find so many errors on Food Network recipes! For example, there were random amounts of salt and cayenne that never came up in the recipe itself. If we'd known the true time, we would have been fine with it. Barbara, the recipe called for 1 1/2 cups each of oil and flour, but many reviewers said it was too oily so we halved the oil.
drbabs February 4, 2013
It seems like the proportions are off also. I use the same amount of oil as flour when I make a roux. It can take a while if the heat is really low, and it can burn easily if it goes too high, so you were probably smart to take the low route.
Christine February 4, 2013
The time in the recipe (25 minutes) is incorrect. For a roux to reach the mahogany stage will take at least 45 minutes. Once you've done it a few times and are comfortable with the process it might be possible to speed up the process by bumping up the temperature but a roux can go from blond to burnt pretty quickly is you aren't on top of it. One option to save time is to make a double recipe and freeze half for next time.
Monita February 4, 2013
Check out this Emeril Gumbo recipe. At the end there are instructions for making a roux of different shadings. For these, the time is quite long
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