A dark roux—a flavorful thickener made by cooking fat with flour—is the foundation of most Louisiana gumbos. The keys to making it well? Constant stirring, even heat, and patience. We love using an induction cooktop for this purpose; since it distributes the heat evenly, you don’t have to worry about certain spots cooking—or burning—faster than others.

You’ll be whisking constantly, so do as Louisiana cooks do and start by grabbing a couple of beers to drink to help you pass the time. Get the oil nice and hot before adding the first bit of flour. Then, turn the heat to low, and continue adding flour, a little at a time, while you whisk. Keep whisking and adding, whisking and adding, and watch as your roux goes from white to a light peanut butter color and finally to a dark, nutty brown.

See the recipe for dark roux »

Try using roux in Chicken and Andouille Étouffée, Crawfish Étouffée, Creole Okra Gumbo, or any of these Louisiana gumbo recipes.