A Non-Cajun’s Review of Jarred Roux

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If you’re a die-hard, genuine, bonafide Cajun, you may not want to read this. There. You’ve been warned.

I’ve made my own roux for gumbo, dirty rice, etc. before. I’ve tried different recipes, different ratios of flour and oil, bacon grease vs. butter vs. vegetable oil. I’ve made decent roux and I’ve burned roux. I don’t have the luxury of Cajun blood or any close Cajun friends or family members to teach me the ways and show me how to get perfect roux every. single. time. Maybe one day Miss Dana from Cuisiniana will show me how. I don’t think I’ve ever made a three-glasses-of-iced-tea-roux before. Maybe that’s my problem.

To put that much time into something with a chance of getting sub-par results makes me nervous. Yes, I’ve had success with roux before, but only when I’ve had a LOT of time to devote to it. And dadgummit, sometimes I want gumbo and I want it now!

In my younger days I was known to buy the boxes of gumbo mix but it always left me sad. I used to be able to satisfy my gumbo cravings at restaurants when we lived closer to Houston, but our Cajun restaurant selection is quite limited here in the Hill Country, and it’s so rare that we eat out that it’s just not the best option.

I’ve always been curious about the jarred roux. I wondered if it would be just as good as homemade. Would it be authentic? Would it make me sad like the boxes of “gumbo” did?

I Googled jarred roux to get opinions. What do people think of it? Should I try it? There were very few reviews. So I bit the bullet one day and decided to buy some. I settled on a jar of Kary’s Roux. I really don’t know why I picked that brand, but it ended up in my shopping buggy and I gave it a try.

 

 

My Honest Unpaid Unsolicited Review of Kary’s Roux

No one paid me to say this. This is my honest experience and personal thoughts about store bought roux.

 

 

Kary’s Roux is pretty doggone authentic in my book. I will be using it again, at least until some Cajun takes me by the hand and teaches me the ropes. It had the authentic flavor of gumbo, and was very easy to work with.

I made my first batch of gumbo shortly after Christmas but didn’t take any pictures. It was a trial run, just to see if it was worth repeating. I’m glad I had a trial run so I knew some of the things to expect when I made it to share with you. There were some things you should know that the jar won’t tell you.

 

First, our ingredient list:

Wild Game Sausage  |  Bell Peppers  |  Onion  |  Celery  |  Roux
Salt  |  Cajun seasoning  |  Pepper  |  Parsley  |  Okra

 

Step 1 ~ 10 minutes

Start by filling half of a large pot of water. This is a 6 quart pot.

Trust me when I say half. Don’t add any more than half the pot of water. I’ll show you why in a minute. {P.S. I love the view out of my kitchen window.}

Put the water on to boil.

 

Step 2 ~ 15 minutes

Slice and dice up the veggies:  4 stalks of celery,

2 bell peppers {Coach and I prefer red or yellow over green, and they’re cheap at my farmers market},

and a whole onion.

Slice 2 pounds of wild sausage {venison or wild pork} into thin slices. It helps to slice it when it’s still a little frozen to keep the casings in place.

We made this sausage using the Fiesta Sausage Kit from Academy. Everything was included {casings, seasoning, and cure}, and the flavor is fantastic! The seasoning is also available at Amazon.

Also, I almost made a very non-Cajun rookie mistake and forgot the okra.

You’ll need half a pound of frozen, thawed okra. You can thaw it in dish of water if you need to. The main reason to thaw it is to prevent your gumbo temperature from dropping when you add it in.

 

Step 3 ~ 15 minutes

Once the water is boiling hard, grab your jar of Kary’s Roux. Half a jar, or 1 c, makes one big pot of gumbo.

The jar will have a lot of oil on the top, and underneath the oil will be the roux.

The roux itself is a bit hard. Don’t expect it to pour out easily. Grab a fork or a spoon and try to break it up a bit. Gradually spoon out the top half of the roux plus a little bit of the oil and add it to the boiling water.

Since this was my second go around I finished off the jar into my water.

Here’s my warning:  this is why you only fill the pot halfway.

This stuff will double in volume once it’s all added to the water. Keep stirring and adjust the heat as necessary to keep it from boiling over.

Second warning:  since the roux is fairly dry compared to homemade roux it may have a tendency to clump up in the water. Don’t be discouraged by that. Scoop up any clumps that settle into the bottom of the pot into your spoon, along with a little liquid from the pot.

Use another spoon to stir the liquid into the clumps on the spoon to make a thinner paste.

Then stir the paste into the pot. Smooth and creamy.

 

Step 4 ~ 5 minutes

Once the roux is fully incorporated, add the diced veggies and sausage to the pot.

Add 1 – 2 Tbsp of your Cajun seasoning of choice. This was the last of our Ragin’ Blaze, which means it’s time to order some more.

Add 1 Tbsp parsley,

½ tsp pepper,

and ½ tsp salt. {If using a different brand of Cajun seasoning, you might be able to leave out the salt. Ragin’ Blaze is a low sodium product.}

Add the okra to the pot and stir it in.

Isn’t that purty?

At this point you could also add a quartered chicken, deboning the meat before Step 7. I typically don’t buy meat at the grocery store, but this would be a perfectly good time to buy some.

 

Step 5 ~ 1 hour

Bring the gumbo back to a low simmer for at least an hour.

 

Step 6 ~ 30 minutes

About thirty minutes before serving your gumbo make a pot of rice. We love Doguet’s rice out of Beaumont, TX. Excellent quality rice at a really good price. I find it at Wal-Mart.

Use the package directions to make at least 3 c prepared rice.

 

Step 7 ~ 5 minutes

Serve a big bowl of gumbo topped with a scoop of rice and crackers or French bread to soak up the roux.

Authentically delicious, and still pretty doggone homemade if you ask me.

Once you’ve recognized jarred roux as an acceptable replacement for homemade the only question left to ask is

 or

Have you used jarred roux before? Tell us about your experience! Have a perfect-every-time recipe for roux? Share a link in the comments! Cajun-wanna-bes wanna know!

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  • Karen

    I’ll start by saying I’m not cajun but as a child we lived in a few Louisiana cities and I’ve had cajun friends before so here’s what I’ve learned over my years about roux. It ain’t hard! It is time consuming to get the authentic, old world taste. Don’t rush!!! Here’s what I do when time allows, 1/2 butter and 1/2 oil (depends on what I have) into a cast iron skillet when butter is melted I stir in enough flour to get the consistency I want. Now with the temp on med high I stir and stir and stir. Remember slow and steady with everything, heat, stirring and time. That’s my favorite way but there are times. You can make roux in the microwave. A word of caution this can be dangerous. Gloves, high heat utensils are required. Same recipe but put into a very large microwave safe bowl and using your good sense about time set the time. I usually start at about 3-4 minutes then maybe another 3 minutes but after that you need to check every minute. Stir very well every time you check. Here’s something I’ve never done but I’ve wanted to try, just never think about it when it’s cold, 5 lbs of flour spread evenly over a sheet cake pan into a low heat oven for hours. Stir occasionally. Take it out when it reaches the desired color. My last secret is I too keep a jar of roux in the pantry. However, I really haven’t found one I would recommend.

    • Thanks for sharing your tips, Karen! Do you ever make roux to keep on hand or make it every time you need it?

      • Karen

        No, but there’s no reason you couldn’t. If you toast flour it would keep longer. Especially if you keep it in freezer.

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