Preparation / Directions:
Here's a little something for when you get tired of all that disgusting smoked salmon... Had a real treat in the food section from the SF Chron last Wednesday. There was a big article on Queen Ida along with her recipe for gumbo. She has a cookbook out--how that escaped me I have no idea. It's called "Cookin' With Queen Ida".
Once roux has started to color, never leave the stove: ignore telephones, doorbells, children and the pets, and keep stirring. If a roux burns (it will develop a burned smell and blackened patches), throw it out and start over. Roux can't be rushed, it's a gradual process and needs patience. When cooked too rapidly, roux may brown but it won't develop its characteristic flavor. When roux is done, it will smell like well-cooked flour; it may taste and smell slightly bitter when sampled 'as is', but this doesn't mean it is burned.
Mix oil and flour in a heavy cast-iron skillet. Do NOT use a nonstick-coated pan. If mixture is not as soft as pancake batter, add more oil.
Cook over low to medium heat, stirring gently but constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping roux from bottom and sides of skillet. If any lumps develop, whisk with a wire whisk until they break up. Cook until the color is almost a mahogany or chile powder red-brown. This will take from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on your pan and heat of your stove. Be patient.
After the roux is done, remove from heat to cool, but keep stirring constantly for the first few minutes. Then stir frequently for 10 minutes longer, since roux will continue to cook from its own heat for a few minutes. As the roux cools, some of the oil will float to the top. Spoon it off.
Turn roux into a container, and store in the refrigerator. Before using, skim off any oil that has separated out, and let roux come to room temperature.
NOTE: If you do a lot of Creole cooking, you can double or triple the recipe. It will take longer to cook, o