Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Impatience Does Not Make a Good Roux!

I am generally too impatient to make a really good roux. A roux (pronounced "roo") is flour browned in oil over medium-low heat. For the purpose of making a gumbo you want a roux that is a dark chocolate brown. Once the color is right you add in the onion, celery, garlic and green peppers. It smells so GOOD!

And really, I don't think it's so much impatience as the TIME it takes! To get a really dark roux you can spend at least 45 minutes stirring constantly. If you don't stir constantly and it burns, you need to start all over. It gets really hot standing over a roux!

Idiot that I am, I made mine during a heat wave. 'Cause, you know, that's when you want a HOT meal!

When my grandmother made gumbo her broth was dark brown and so tasty (my mom's too). I tend to add my veggies too soon so mine tends towards the color and consistency of chicken gravy. I think I need to experiment (during the winter). Generally the fat and flour need to be equal in measure, say 1 cup to 1 cup but I was reading some other recipes online and they said if you want a thinner broth you want to cut down on the flour. Hmm, that may help.

  • Gumbo-making hints
    • Don't make during a heat wave.
    • Wear comfortable shoes while stirring.
    • Call in someone else to take a picture of the roux because you can't run to your purse for your phone while you are in the middle of constant stirring.
      • Mine is pictured above thanks to The Boy.
    • Be patient!

Despite the heat we had a yummy dinner of gumbo over white rice. This was on Wednesday of last week. I was going to call Pop over for some leftovers (or bring him some). But then I was making more rice the 2nd day and when I poured the rice into the boiling water I noticed something odd.

As I watched the rice in the water, waiting for it to reach a boil, I noticed a bunch of tiny brown things floating in the pot. What are they? I looked in the rice canister and didn't see anything odd. I looked in the bowl of leftover rice from the night before and it looked fine (we had eaten some of this rice on Wednesday).

I usually make extra rice because CPA Boy likes to eat it for breakfast with milk and sugar. (I love rice but this sounds really gross to me!) I took the rice off the burner and delved deeper into the rice canister...and saw tiny things MOVING. Ugh.

So, you're welcome, Pop. No rice bugs for you!

I threw out all the white rice --- cooked, uncooked and half-cooked --- and then inspected the jasmine rice canister (ALL CLEAR!) and made that instead.

There's a family story related to this. My mom had gone to our next door neighbor's house (we called her, in the Southern way, Miss Josie) and had eaten something. It might have been a gumbo. As my mom was eating she noticed that there were (dead) weevils in it. (This was in Louisiana. Weevils got into EVERYTHING.) But my mom was too polite to say anything so she just ate. (I'm thinking she didn't ask for seconds.)

But the best part of the story, though not for Pop, is this: He came over too when he got home from work and he also had a bowl of the weevil-laden dish. AND MOM JUST LET HIM EAT IT.

Pop was of the opinion that it would be a favor to let Miss Josie know she had infested food but Mom didn't want to hurt her feelings. I'm not sure if she ever told Miss Josie (who was married to Mr. Joe by the way).

This is the second bag of rice in a row that ended up with bugs in it. I am going to need to find a different rice source (the guys don't love jasmine rice).

  • Additional gumbo-making hints
    • Check the rice CAREFULLY.


  1. So apparently, Dad and I will *not* be coming over for a home-cooked meal at the Smith's this weekend!

  2. Hee! Three comments:

    1. Put your bag of rice in the freezer immediately after bringing it home from the store -- that will kill any latent nesting weevil eggs. (Ew.) And if you don't use rice a lot, you can actually store it in the freezer and keep all weevils at bay.
    2. Hot cooked rice with milk and sugar tastes like rice pudding. So yummy and delicious, and a very satisfying breakfast. (But then again, I think tuna casserole, one of your loves, is the most nauseating thing ever — hot canned tuna, I cannot bear the thought. Potato, potahto.)
    3. Roux-making goes much faster with a bottle of cold white wine by your side and some good music — but then, what doesn't?

    Gumbo, yummy! But I see no mention of your hen . . .


  3. I will roux the day I *ever* comment on your cooking. Hot cooked rice with milk and sugar AND tuna casserole are good. Gumbo, too!