The dreaded broken roux … It’s when something goes wrong in cooking gumbo, and instead of a luscious, uniform, thick roux, you end up with a separated sauce that seems to have tiny globules of flour floating around in oil. It’s totally gross, and it’s a classic broken roux. (Some would call it a separated roux.)
I used to have lots of problems with broken roux (roux’s?). I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong … I wondered if I was adding the water (some people add stock) at the wrong temperature. One article I read advised a lukewarm stock … I fiddled with that for awhile and couldn’t come up with anything like consistent results. Finally, I read somewhere that it was a myth that you should add EQUAL parts of fat and flour to make a roux. This advice said you should add more flour than fat, by anywhere from a third to a half more flour, to avoid the dreaded broken roux. I started doing this, and lo and behold, I haven’t had a broken roux since. Coincidence? Perhaps. There is art and mystery in the cooking of the gumbo.
Another important question: Is there a fix for a roux once its broken? I only found one fix for a separated roux, which is taking pre-made cold roux from “roux in a jar” (which I don’t normally use) and mixing it into the gumbo with the broken roux, and then bringing the whole thing to a boil for a few minutes. (I like Savoie’s Old Fashioned Dark Roux). I have a hunch this isn’t so much about fixing the broken roux and it is masking the broken roux. But we do what we must in such cases … And if you don’t have roux in a jar on hand, I have no other solution to offer. Sorry!