The base for most New Orleans recipes is a good ROUX.
There is a real trick to making roux and take it from me, I made it wrong for years. It wasn’t until I took a cooking class in New Orleans that I learned how to make roux the right way…or should I say the right color.
You really have to be patient and don’t be tempted to turn up the heat. Remember, if the roux burns even slightly, you need to throw it out and start over again. It takes at least 20 – 30 minutes of constant stirring to get the color up. I promise you the outcome is so good, it is a small penance to pay.
If you have any reservations, take a class. On second thought, go to New Orleans to take a class.
First you make a roux......
The fat used in roux can be butter, shortening, lard, oil, or bacon drippings.
Many cooks call for a little more fat than flour - 2/3 cup oil to 1/2 cup flour is a common ratio.
Melt the fat in a cast iron skillet over low heat. Slowly sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly until brown (this will take at least 20-30 minutes). Don’t ever stop stirring or your roux will burn. Immediately remove from heat.
1 large chicken (young hen preferred), cut into pieces (I use thighs)
3 tsp. Salt
1 tsp.freshly ground black pepper
Season the chicken with salt, pepper and brown quickly in oil.
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium to high heat stirring constantly, until the roux reaches almost the color of dark hazelnuts.
½ pound lean ham, cubed
2 cups onions, chopped
½ cup bell peppers, chopped
½ cup thinly sliced green shallots, chopped
2 Tbsp.minced parsley
2 quarts cold water
3 bay leaves
1 ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Add the vegetables and stir quickly. Cook for about 4 minutes.
Add the water, seasonings, chicken, sausage and ham. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
Serve over rice with a cold beer, lots of hot, buttery corn bread muffins and a bottle of hot sauce.