As we march into mid-September and cold fronts start to swing in from the north, southern Louisianians get out their big pots, cook rice, chop up chicken and sausage, and get ready for what we call "Gumbo weather." Personally, it's always "Gumbo weather" to me, but most people wait until things cool off just a bit down here in Louisiana for they begin making gumbo.
A key ingredient of gumbo is roux. Roux is a thickening agent that adds body and flavor to many dishes. It is usually made with flour and either butter or oil. It also varies in look and taste depending on where it is made, who makes it, and what it is used for. Kary's Roux is a dark oil-based roux that is used for many dishes in southern Louisiana. While I've personally used a number of rouxs over the years, Kary's is my favorite.
It is quite simple to use (boil it down in water and add whatever seasonings you want to make a good gravy) and has a wonderful flavor. The only warning I have to give you when using this or any other roux is to make sure that it completely dissolves before enjoying it. While it tastes great when blended with other ingredients, a hunk of undisolved roux is one of the nastiest things I've ever tasted. It is very thick and coats your mouth like glue! Undisolved chunks will sometimes attach to a piece of meat and you won't even know you're eating it until it hits your tastebuds.
Any time that I make gumbo or rice and gravy, I always try to have some Kary's Roux on hand. There are many other good rouxs on the market such as Savoie's and Southern Seasonings, but Kary's is tops in my book.
The roux is made in Ville Platte, LA, and to the best of my knowledge is available regionally in stores and everywhere else via www.karysroux.com.
If you ever want to make real gumbo (and Campbell's Soup DOES NOT KNOW HOW!), buy some Kary's Roux and follow the simple instructions on the side of the jar to make some of the best gumbo in the world!
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