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Cajun Creole Roux

Updated on October 26, 2009

Countless Cajun dishes start with a roux, French meaning russet red, which gives them their wonderful colour and rich flavour. A roux is the starting point for Creole gumbo and shrimp étouffée.

The Taming of the Roux

For the ultimate roux use a heavy bottomed skillet, cast iron is preferable. A rich, dark roux requires a bit of patience as it needs to be cooked slowly and stirred constantly to achieve a full-bodied, toasty flavour for robust meat and poultry dishes. When cooked for a shorter time it produces a lighter roux for use in delicate fish and seafood dishes.

Basic ingredients

½ C all purpose flour

½ C extra virgin olive oil or butter (if making a very dark roux use EVOO, as butter will most likely burn)

Heat oil or butter in skillet on moderately high heat

When hot gradually add flour, stirring constantly, and cook over medium high for 5 minutes

Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for approximately 4 to 6 minutes until roux has a tinge of light brown to reddish colour. This is the desired colour for fish and seafood dishes

For a richer roux continue cooking an additional 3 to 5 minutes until medium brown (colour of peanut butter)

Bold, dark, reddish rouxs require another 3 to 5 minutes

Tip: stirring constantly is a must and, as all stoves vary, adjust heat accordingly to attain a perfect roux every time

For your entertainment pleasure

Louisiana was and still is a melting pot of cultures resulting in a Creole cuisine that’s a Heinz 57 combination of European, Mediterranean, Caribbean and almost everything in between. Gumbo was created in an attempt to duplicate bouillabaisse and the word gumbo is derived from the Bantu word meaning okra.

Creole Gumbo – serves 6

3 lbs. chicken, cut up

1 andouille (spicy, smoked pork) sausage or kielbasa, cut into thick slices

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 each red and green pepper, chopped

½ C butter

½ C all purpose flour

2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

2 or 3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tblsp black pepper

½ tsp thyme

1 tblsp crushed red chilli peppers (lessen or increase depending on hotness desired)

3 parsley sprigs, finely chopped

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes and liquid, coarsely chopped

1 C each water and white wine

1 ½ lbs medium, peeled and deveined raw shrimp

1 tsp gumbo filé powder * (pungent thickening agent made from ground sassafras leaves) or other thickening agent

Melt butter in heavy bottomed Dutch oven on medium heat

Sauté chicken in two batches until golden brown on all sides, approximately 20 min, remove and set aside

Add andouille or kielbasa sausage to pan, sauté 5 min, remove and set aside

Slowly add flour to pan drippings, stirring constantly until roux is light brown to slightly reddish, 4 to 6 min, and remove from heat (shrimp is being added so the roux shouldn’t be too dark)

In a separate skillet heat 2 tblsp oil on medium heat, sauté garlic and vegetables until onions are golden and slightly opaque being careful not to let the garlic burn

Stir vegetables into roux; add spices, tomatoes and water bringing mixture to a slow boil, stirring occasionally

Return chicken and sausage pieces to pot, turn heat to medium low and simmer, covered, 35 to 45 minutes or until chicken is tender, stirring once or twice

Add shrimp and simmer, covered, an additional 3 to 5 min or until shrimp is slightly pink (shrimp will continue to cook once removed, if its overcooked in the pot it will become dry and rubbery)

Using a slotted spoon remove chicken, sausage and shrimp to a heated serving dish and keep warm.

Bring sauce in Dutch oven to a boil, scraping bottom to incorporate any small bits, add file or other agent and stir until thick

Pour over chicken, sausage and shrimp and serve immediately with hot rice

* filé powder can also be added at the table for a stronger pungent flavour

Étouffér is French meaning, as a verb, to smother. Hence étouffée means smothered and many Cajun dishes are smothered in a holy trinity, a traditional combination of chopped celery, onion and bell peppers. Shrimp étouffée is considered a country dish and should provide a very spicy kick.

Shrimp Étouffée – serves 4 (ay-too-FAY)

4 tblsp butter

¼ C all purpose flour

1 medium onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

1 ½ C seafood stock (Knorr has an excellent powdered version)

¼ tsp thyme

¼ tsp paprika

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ tsp black pepper

1 to 2 tsp cayenne pepper

Tabasco sauce, to taste (optional)

1 ½ to 2 lbs medium, peeled and deveined raw shrimp

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron) on medium high and slowly combine flour, stirring constantly, to produce a golden roux (similar to the color of peanut butter), 4 to 6 min

Reduce heat to medium and add vegetables, cooking until wilted, 5 to 7 minutes

Add stock, spices and bring mixture to a slow boil

Reduce heat to medium low, simmer, uncovered, and cook until thickened, approximately 8 to 10 min, stirring occasionally (if splatter is high, turn heat down slightly)

Add shrimp and simmer until flesh is light pink all the way through, about 3 to 5 min

Serve immediately over hot rice

Perfect Rice – serves 8

In the Microwave

Combine 2 C long grain rice with 3½ C water or chicken stock and 2 tblsp butter or extra virgin olive oil in a large glass microwavable container (be sure to use a container with adequate room for rice expansion)

Microwave, uncovered, on high 10 min and on medium low for an additional 10 to 15 min (cooking time varies depending on the microwave)

Avoid stirring rice during the process. When time is up fluff with a fork, check for doneness (all water/broth should be absorbed).

Stove Top

Place 2 C long grain rice in a medium sized pot with a tight fitting lid

Place your index finger on top of the rice and fill pot with water until the level is even with the second knuckle

Add 2 tblsp butter or oil and bring just to a boil

Reduce heat to medium/medium low, cover and cook 10 to 15 min (do NOT remove the lid unless the rice is boiling over, in which case remove from heat, lower temperature and return to burner)

After 10 to 15 min remove lid, all water should be absorbed, if it isn’t place lid back on the pot and simmer another 4 to 5 minutes

Remove from stove, fluff and test for doneness

Rice Cooker

Follow the manufacturer’s suggestions

NOTE: Aroma has a wide selection of good quality, inexpensive rice cookers

An Ideal Accompaniment

Nothing goes better with any Cajun/Creole dish than hush puppies. Various legends exist as to how they were named, but the general consensus is they were tossed to barking dogs to hush the puppies. Regardless of how the name came about these little morsels are delicious.

Hush Puppies – yield about 18

1 egg, beaten

½ C buttermilk *

2 green onions, finely chopped

1 tblsp water

¾ C cornmeal

¼ C all purpose flour

2 tblsp white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

Oil ** or shortening for deep frying

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl, beat and whisk in buttermilk, water and green onions

Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and add egg mixture, stirring until just moistened

In a heavy bottomed pot or deep fryer heat 2 inches of oil or shortening equivalent to 375 degrees, if oil or shortening is ‘smoking’ then it’s too hot. Drop a small portion of batter into the oil/shortening to test temperature level

Using a spoon drop batter into oil and fry a few at a time for about 2 min or until golden brown, use a wooden spoon to turn them gently if required

Drain hush puppies on paper towel; keep warm until all cornbread morsels are cooked

* substitute buttermilk by putting a tblsp of lemon juice or white vinegar in the bottom of a one cup measure then add milk to the one cup level

** use a vegetable or corn oil as opposed to olive oil which does not usually reach a high enough temperature for deep frying


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    • profile image


      20 months ago

      You NEVER make a roux with EVOO. You need to spend some time in Cajun Country to truly know how to make a good roux. Northerners!!

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      You are welcome DeBorrah, I hope you enjoy and thanks for the visit.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      7 years ago

      Carmen Borthwick, Wonderful! Thank you for sharing these great Cajun recipes! Peace & Blessings!

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      I'm glad you got it right, you're a roux master now!

    • dutchman1951 profile image


      8 years ago from Tennessee, USA

      three try's to get this right, burnt the first one! man!

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      Thanks for visiting.

    • Lamme profile image


      8 years ago

      yummy, delicious cajun food! Thanks for sharing this.

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      Hey ComputerBackpack, they are so good... lots of butter!

    • ComputerBackpack profile image


      8 years ago from Michigan

      mmmm...hushpuppies. yum. will do.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 

      8 years ago from USA

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      thanks Jenny for visiting

    • Jenny30 profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      yummy!!! I am so trying this receipe!!

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      Yummy, let me know how it turns out!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I love these dishes! I'm going to try the roux as a base for crab soup. Thanks!

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      Thanks Cagsil, let me know how you like it!

    • Cagsil profile image


      8 years ago from USA or America

      Thank you so very much for this Hub. I do all my own cooking, so now I have other things I can try. Greatly appreciated. I enjoyed it.

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      Thanks Dolores, let me know how it turns out!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Carmen - I love etouffee but used water and wine as the liquid. So it is never quite right. I'll try the fish stock next time. What a lot of great recipes!

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      Thanks for the visit Godslittlechild and Margaret, nothing is better on a chili fall night.

    • Margaret Morris profile image

      Margaret Morris 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for the recipes, Carmen. I've thought about making gumbo but never attempted it. Now, with your helpful hub, I'm going to give it a try. It'll remind me of my one and only visit to Mardi Gras.

    • Godslittlechild profile image


      8 years ago


    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      You're welcome, I will be posting some more soon. No, I'm from the north... BC Canada. I used to teach Cajun cooking, I love the food.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Wow, Thank you for all of your Cajun recipes. Are you from the South?. thank you for sharing. creativeone59

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      Your welcome, thanks for the visit.

    • myownworld profile image


      8 years ago from uk can almost smell the aroma! I lived in france for a long time, and they had really perfected the art of roux! thanks for the great recipe.

    • Carmen Borthwick profile imageAUTHOR

      Carmen Borthwick 

      8 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      QuirkyPearl, hope you try it out some time.

      Gumbo is perfect for a rainy day, let me know what you think.

      Jerilee, when I taught cooking you'ld be amazed what is difficult for some cooks. LOL

      Thanks for the kudos, Gus, appreciate it.

      Thanks to all for taking the time to come visit.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 

      8 years ago from USA

      Carmen - Nice recipes. When we make file' gumbo we don't use thyme, but the rest of it is "right on." Also, New Orleans chef, Prudhomme, calls roux "Kitchen Napalm," that is, he says to watch out for spatters because they will burn the hide off of you. Gus

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      8 years ago from United States

      As a Cajun American Étouffé is a frequent guest at our dinner table. The art of the roux sounds simple but is not as easy for some cooks. Great hub!

    • Laurel Oakes profile image

      Laurel Oakes 

      8 years ago


      It is raining here today and after reading your Hub I think I'm going Gumbo today. Couldn't have come at a better time, thanks.

    • QuirkyPearl profile image


      8 years ago from England - UK

      Sounds delicious;-)


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