Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Make Your Own Easy Roux--in the Oven!

Two things in life that I dearly love are is a good chicken and sausage gumbo, and "real" brown gravy.

But up until now, my best gumbo came from a mix. Gravy, too.

Bayou Magic Gumbo mix is the best of the gumbo mixes, in my opinion. It has all of the seasoning, the dried ingredients, even powdered roux--all you have to do is add water or broth and whatever meat or seafood you want. It's good, but I wanted to learn how to make the real, rich, only-from-homemade gumbo. I tried some other packaged roux products, but none of them had that just right taste.

And as for making brown gravy, well, I could get it to look right, but not taste right.

And in both of these cases, the problem was in the roux--that mixture of flour and oil or grease, browned to perfection, that adds not just the thickener but a whole layer of flavor to the finished product. My problem with roux, I've discovered, is that I'm too impatient, I brown it too fast, and it doesn't have time to develop that good, rich flavor that adds so much to gumbo or gravy. And if it ever cooks too fast and burns, you have to throw it all out and start over again.

Years ago a co-worker gave me a recipe for a technique that made the roux in the oven. I passed it on to my family, but I never really tried it myself, I just stuck with my gumbo mix and gravy packets. Finally, though, I decided to bite the bullet and learn how to make this yummy base for myself.

After a quick phone call to my sister (who's husband swears by this technique) to refresh my memory of the details, I dove on in.

There are only two ingredients, oil and flour.

For this recipe, use one part oil to two parts flour. I used one cup of oil and two cups of flour.

Stir together until well combined. A few small lumps are okay, they'll eventually dissolve, but try to smush out the big ones.

Pour into your baking dish--I used Pyrex dish, about 8 x 8. If you make a larger quantity, just be sure that your baking dish allows room to stir.
Place in the oven at 375 degrees and set your timer for 30 minutes.

This is what it looked like after 30 minutes. I used self-rising flour because that's what I had on hand, so I'm not sure if regular flour would bubble like this, but eventually the bubbles cook out.

Stir well, especially scraping the sides. At this point it looked kind of like oatmeal.
Place back in the oven and set your time for about 20 minutes.

Again, stir, and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes.

See how it's starting to get smooth and brown? Trust me, it starts to smell good, too.

Continue to check on it and stir it every 15-20 minutes until it gets as dark as you want it. When I got to this point, I turned off the oven and let the residual heat continue to brown it for another 20-30 minutes...

Isn't this the most beautiful rich roux you've ever seen?? Next time I'm going to go for it and let it get even darker, but I was afraid it would get too dark and have that burnt taste that some roux gets.

My kitchen smelled so good!
After it cooled, I tasted it--did you know that oil and flour, if cooked correctly, have a taste? And it's a good one, too! This is not just a thickener, it's that added layer of flavor I've been missing.

And now you're ready to go! You can use it then, or let it cool and refrigerate it until you need it. You may get some separation when it's cool, with a small layer of oil rising to the top, but stir before you use it--just like with natural peanut butter.

If you're adding it to soup or stew or gumbo, spoon some roux into a bowl or big cup, add some warn broth or stock, stir well, and then add it to the pot--otherwise it will lump up.

For gravy, place a tablespoon or two in your saucepan, and heat slowly, whisking in the liquid to prevent lumps.

I hope you enjoy your roux, this is one technique that's definitely a keeper. I made the best roux I've ever made, and with my timer I was able to go about my business without being chained to the stove stirring constantly.
This post is linked to:
Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum
Food on Friday at Ann Kroeker
Ultimate Recipe Swap at the Grocery Cart Challenge
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Meatless Monday at Sweet and Savory
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

next time, good cooking, and good eating!


  1. This is a must try.
    Come by and visit I have an AWARD for you.

  2. WOW! How simple is that? and it looks so good. How long did it take? I can't wait to try this. Also do you think I could use coconut oil?

  3. great recipe, thanks for sharing


  4. Wow, what a neat technique and I would have never believed it. Thanks for linking to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

  5. I have never seen this technique either, but I can see that it would come in handy.

  6. This is a fabulous idea! I am sensitive to MSG - so I make all of our white sauces for casseroles from scratch (no canned soup here!) This will save so much time!

  7. I am excited about learning how to do this. THanks for sharing it and linking it to Meatless Mondays.

  8. Thank you! Thank you! Up until now I've been that saddest of things - a Southern girl who can't make gravy. This looks like the technique for me - YIPPEE!

  9. I'm making this roux right now, and at the first stirring point the mixture is very dry. I stirred it, anyway, and now it's in the oven for another 2- minutes.

    Are you sure about one oil to two cups flour? I can see a failure in the making here, so would appreciate any comments on what next.


    W Wise

  10. One cup oil to two cups flour is what we've always used, and it's always worked for us. Not sure why the difference for you.