View Full Version : gumbo taste

09-20-2006, 09:28 PM
Tonight i made a pot of Paul Prudhomme's Chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo. I followed the recipe to the tee. I don't believe i burned the roux, black roux. I didn't see any specs and it didn't smell burned. But it seemed to have a bitter taste right at the end. What the hell do I know about gumbo. My favorite is Pappa's Seafood shrimp gumbo. Is there something that i may have done, missed or something that i don't know. Like I said, what the heck do i know about gumbo. I love KPauls, been there 3 times. I love his book, Lousiana Kitchen. I've cooked a couple of his recipes, creole sauce and some of the fish recipes. Any insight about the bitterness at the end. It wasn't bad but it was there.

09-20-2006, 09:37 PM
i dunno what to tell you, dave. i've never cooked my roux to the point where it was black. i usually take mine to about the color of the outside of a snickers bar, maybe a tad lighter. you didn't mention what spices the recipe called for. i've never had the typical gumbo spices cause bitterness, but maybe when it combined with the roux.........

09-20-2006, 09:38 PM
Dave, I'm about 30 miles too far west to be a coon***** but I do like gumbo.

I imagine there will be some give a more educated answer ...but, I ain't never made gumbo with a "black" rouxe...never even heard of a black rouxe.
The recipes I've seen and used usually call for a "nut brown" color to the rouxe.

If you made the rouxe yourself it may have just stayed on the heat a little too long.

09-20-2006, 09:39 PM
Course with Prudhomme it might be a recipe for Blackened Gumbo.

09-20-2006, 09:47 PM
from his website, not his book. the book calls for 1tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp red pepper instead of his "Magic Seasoning" . I just didn't want to type all of this.

1 (3-4 pound) chicken, cut up
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic® or Poultry Magic® or Vegetable Magic®
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
¾ cup finely chopped celery
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying
About 7 cups chicken stock or water
½ pound andouille smoked sausage or any other good pure smoked pork sausage such as Polish sausage (Kielbasa), cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Hot cooked rice (preferably converted)

Remove excess fat from the chicken pieces. Rub a generous amount of the Magic Seasoning Blend on both sides of each piece, making sure each is evenly covered. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl combine the onions, bell peppers and celery, set aside. Thoroughly combine the flour with 1 tablespoon of the Magic Seasoning Blend in a paper or plastic bag. Add the chicken and shake until pieces are well coated. Reserve ½ cup of the flour.

In a large skillet (preferably not a nonstick type) heat 1½ inches oil until very hot (375º to 400º). Fry the chicken pieces until crust is brown on both sides, about 5 to 8 minutes per side; drain on paper towels. Carefully pour the hot oil into a glass measuring cup, leaving as many of the browned particles in the pan as possible. Scrape the pan bottom with a metal whisk to loosen any stuck particles, then return ½ cup of hot oil to the pan. Place pan over high heat. Using a long handled metal whisk, gradually stir in the reserved ½ cup flour. Cook, whisking constantly, until roux is dark red-brown to black, about 3½ to 4 minutes, being careful not to let it scorch or splash on your skin.

Remove from heat and immediately add the reserved vegetable mixture, stirring constantly until the roux stops getting darker. Return pan to low heat and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping the pan bottom well. Set aside.

Place the stock in a 5½-quart saucepan or large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Add the roux mixture by spoonfuls to the boiling stock, stirring until dissolved between additions. Add the chicken pieces and return mixture to a boil, stirring and scraping pan bottom often. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the andouille and garlic. Simmer uncovered until chicken is tender, about 1½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally and more often toward the end of cooking time.

When the gumbo is almost cooked, adjust the seasoning if desired with additional amount of Magic Seasoning Blend. Serve immediately.

09-20-2006, 09:52 PM
Also, i sent some over to my neighbor, who's roots are in NOLA, and she didn't say anything about the bitter taste at the end. She did seem to stress that if anything, it needed a "grittier" texture. Whatever that means.

09-20-2006, 10:02 PM
The reason i'm venturing out in to gumbo from scratch is because i'll be cooking at the Lonesome Dove Fest, www.lonesomedovefest.com , in Kenedy Tx my hometown. One of the entries is the cajun gumbo. And i've waited til the last minute. No minute like the last minute

david brace
09-20-2006, 10:39 PM
I seem to remember that TB had a good handle on making a good Roux...just can't seem to find it. BUt if I do, I'll post it here.


09-20-2006, 11:29 PM
Roux has to be done very slowly on low heat. It takes me at least 30 minuites to get mine to a chocolate color, and must be constantly stirred.

Ed Embry
09-21-2006, 06:49 AM
A black roux would give it a very strong taste which perhaps you aren't used to. Maybe try it again with the roux the color of a hershey bar. Just a thought. That cookbook is my favorite. :)

Bayou Black Iron
09-21-2006, 07:48 AM
The bitter taste most likely did come from your roux. Either, as stated above, it was so dark that it gave you a taste that you aren't used to or that in getting it to that "black" color, the flour was scorched.

I like a lot of Chef Paul's recipes but he always talks of the "fast" roux. I'm just not a big fan of it...by getting your oil that hot and then adding your flour, there's just not much time for error and it makes it very easy to burn your roux. There's a pretty fine line between a very dark roux and a burned one. Now, don't get me wrong, you can make a perfectly fine roux using Chef Paul's method but it requires a different level of skill. He's explained, before, that he developed the "fast" method because he makes so many roux's, in his restraurants, that time became a factor and he had to find a way to speed it up.

I prefer the low and slow method of making a roux and it probably works best for those that aren't used to cooking hundreds of roux's a year. A dark brown roux works fine for most gumbos and leaves you with a little safety net to ensure that it's not burned. Also, remember that the darker the roux, the less thickening power it will have (may be what she was referring to in texture(?)).

Don't give up. Just like anything else, making a gumbo (and roux) takes practice.

09-21-2006, 08:29 AM
Yeah, that roux may have been a little dark for your taste. You can lighten it up a bit and see what you think. For most seafood gumbo, I like a darker roux that is almost black. It's still brown, though, like dark chocolate. I lighten it up a little for chicken and sausage, so that it's more like milk chocolate.

When I make roux, I start fast and then slow down. I add the flour to cold or just warmed oil and stir it in as well as I can with a whiskover low to medium heat. I like a thicker roux, so it can be a little tough, but it's worth the safety. I'm not looking to brown much here. Then, I crank the heat up quite a bit and stir like a mother with a whisk or wide spatula. I'm just about stir-frying that stuff. Once all the water is boiled out (i.e., the bubbles stop) and the nutty aroma comes on, I turn the heat down a little bit and keep stirring as the color comes on. As I near my target color, I turn the heat down more and usually wind up around medium or medium low to fine tune it. Once I get the roux about where I want it, I cut the fire and keep stirring until I'm happy. If I really want to cool that roux down, I do the ol' trick of tossing in the diced onion.

I'm with BBI that you may need more roux in your gumbo, according to your friend's comment. With roux as dark as you're talking about, it won't thicken much at all. I've even played around a little with blending roux. I might start with a base color, such as milk chocolate or a little darker. Then, I'll add some even darker to get more of that coffee flavor, and I'll add some lighter to ensure thickening. It's not a lot of work. You just start with a large batch, remove some when it's lighter, keep on cooking until you get to your base color, and then remove a little more to keep on cooking to a darker color.

No matter what, have fun with it. Don't look at recipes like they're the Gospel. They're just a starting point.


Paul Taylor
09-21-2006, 11:12 AM
Hey Dave, if I may say something in conjunction with Texlaw, On roux's most PPL say a ratio of 1-1 on oil & flour, bulls**t,I go 1 cup oil to 1.5 cups of flour. & like Doak, I start out with hot oil, pour my flour in while on med-hi heat, then crack back to med. heat & stir & stir my ***** off until I get the color that I look for. After that, I take a taste test & believe me if it is scorched, you can damn well tell it. Once I get it right, I then proceed with everything else. Oh another thing, if you want to, make you a huge batch of roux so next time ya ain't gotta sit there & slave over the stove again. It stores in your fridge real well in a closed container, preferably a lidded jar.Hope this helps. :)

Paul Taylor

09-21-2006, 06:57 PM
I think youve gotten some good advice here. I'd try again and go lighter in color as has been suggested. I also agree that you can use less oil than 1:1 with the flour.

I do a dry roux (no oil), but if I were you, I'd work on the method you're using now.

Paul Taylor
09-21-2006, 07:09 PM
Hey Dave Oh also, on what I said about making a big batch of roux, the cool thing is is that the next gumbo that you make,fricasee or courtboullion, or whatever that calls for a roux, you ain't gotta sit there & wait & wait & wait for the roux to be made especially if you are on a time constraint. The hardest part will have already been done. Then you can drink a beer of thanks for a boy from La. for that. LOL :lol: :P

Paul Taylor

david brace
09-22-2006, 06:42 AM
This is an old post from TB that my research team discovered:

Here's a way to make roux for gumbos and other cajun dishes without the usual cup of oil. The flavor you want in a good gumbo is in the nutty-brown taste of the roux. I make this frequently.

Dry Roux In a heavy skillet medium-high flame, heat the flour, stirring constantly with a spatula that scrapes the bottom of the skillet clean. Stir constantly to keep the flour browning evenly. When steam comes off the flour, reduce heat and keep stirring. Do not let even a little bit of it burn. If it does, throw it out and start over! Continue until it reaches a tan color. To test, place some flour into a drop or two of water and force it to mix with the back of a spoon. You are looking for a mahogany color. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the pan cools down enough to stop cooking; then let stand a while to cool. This roux is the secret of gumbo. This can be made ahead and stored in a zip-lock freezer bag in the freezer


09-22-2006, 09:11 AM
On roux's most PPL say a ratio of 1-1 on oil & flour, bulls**t,I go 1 cup oil to 1.5 cups of flour.

I'm with you 100% on that. I like a thicker roux, too. With a 1:1 roux, all that oil just comes out and floats on top of your gumbo, and that's just a waste of good oil. I don't like to have any more oil than I need to make a roux that I can stir around. If I find my roux is a too tight once the oil has heated up, I can always add a little more oil.

I've done a dry roux, too, and that works fine. It takes a little more mixing to get it in, but it works fine. It's no good for frying onions, though. :)


Bayou Black Iron
09-22-2006, 09:42 AM
I agree with Paul and TexLaw on the thicker roux... as I've said in other posts, I usually go closer to a 2 to 1 ratio (2 parts flour, 1 part oil) in my roux. Not so much with gumbo, but in certain dishes (like etouffee), after the roux is done and when I'm adding the vegetables, I like to sneak a stick (or 2) of butter in :wink:

david brace
09-22-2006, 09:46 PM
Het TB...I gotta ask...why do you prefer the dry Roux to the oil style?


09-22-2006, 11:43 PM
All this talk about making roux is making me hungry. :D

Do you guys have a good recipe for shrimp etouffee?

09-23-2006, 07:20 AM
Roux has to be done very slowly on low heat. It takes me at least 30 minuites to get mine to a chocolate color, and must be constantly stirred.

kpigout is right on the money with low and slow. Put the flour in a dry skillet on low heat, stir frequently until the color of coco. It may smell like it's burnt, but it's not.