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Old 10-04-2006, 06:25 PM   #1
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Browning meat and roux color flavors

last night i made seafood gumbo for the first time. it came out real good but i had some questions. why do you brown chicken to add it to the gumbo. it all shreads up in the end. is it to give a better texture than unbrowned meat.
also can some one also explain the taste differance between a dark roux and a blond roux. i went with the dark roux and it had a very different taste that i have never had before. i realize you may not be able to, but i dont want to make a blond roux and find out later that i like dark. thanks.

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Old 10-04-2006, 06:37 PM   #2
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The browning is to add flavor. Browning meats causes a chemical reaction called the Maillard Reaction. That change adds a lot of flavor to a dish. Think about a grilled burger compared to boiled hamburg meat...

How long did you cook the chicken that it shredded?!

Roux flavor intensifies as it darkens. Sounds like you did a chicken and seafood gumbo. A dark roux (not a black roux) will add a lot of richness to this dish.

If you have the time, make a big batch of roux. Take a little out of the pan at different stages of color and do a comparative taste test after they have all cooled enough to preserve the integrity of your lips and tongue.
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Old 10-04-2006, 06:40 PM   #3
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Good questions eagle.

As far as the roux goes, the dark roux to me has a much nuttier taste than the blond version.

As for the chicken, I can think of a few reasons although I don't know how you use it in the gumbo.

Browning gives flavor to the meat. Both by the Maillarde (? spelling) reaction that will give the surface a tasty flavor, but also cooking the meat with a dry heat gives it a texture and flavor that is different than just boiled chicken, which is what I am assuming you would have. Again, I don't know your recipe.

Browning also gets rid of some of the fat.

Just a couple of ideas.
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Old 10-04-2006, 06:42 PM   #4
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i dont have a thick pot to cook in. so i cooked the gumbo for 45 minutes simmering time, then added the okra and simmered another 30 minutes. Then the shrimp about 8 minutes. The problem is it takes time to get it back to boiling, I am sure that is cooking time as well. Thanks with the roux. I think I'll stick with dark. What is a black roux? Isn't that burnt?
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Old 10-04-2006, 06:43 PM   #5
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Sorry Andy, was typing while you were posting.

Good point though, take some flour and oil (or butter) and make a roux and try it as it changes. A great way to learn for little price.
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Old 10-04-2006, 06:47 PM   #6
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As far as recipes go, I cant follow one for my life, I use it as a guideline. I am always adding more of some things and less of others and sometimes adding ingredients that are not called for. Oh well such is life.
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Old 10-04-2006, 06:48 PM   #7
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I've been hearing that when you cook butter at high temperatures like that its not good for you. I dont know what I am talking about but this is what I have heard.
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Old 10-04-2006, 06:53 PM   #8
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I havent seen your recipe, but Gumbo is traditionally cooked with chicken with its skin on. If you start out browning the chicken pieces, brown them with their skinside down which will protect the flesh, these will allow you to create the brown bits you seek and protect the meat itself (you may indeed remove the skins later on in the stewing process)... I gather that you may have been putting the chicken flesh directly on the pan and lean cuts such as breast meat will begin shredding rapidly.

Gumbo is always cooked starting with a brown roux... it should be cooked with oil (veg or canola) for a long time over low heat and stirring making sure it doesnt burn... should be as dark as peanut butter w a similar consistency. This flavor is much different than blonde roux and its complexity is required in making gumbo. Different cooks will differ in how dark the roux should be. Do remember however that a dark roux will have less thickening power as a white or blonde roux and you must therefore use more of it. An etouffee is a similar dish which traditionally uses a lighter, blonde roux.

EDIT: I have now seen several authentic recipes which call for the chicken skin to be taken off... i would still proceed as above, begin sauteeing with skin on to produce your brown bits, then remove the skin and discard, and use the brown bits at the bottom for flavor base and even take advantage of the chicken fat rendered to begin using as your oil for the roux
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Old 10-04-2006, 06:57 PM   #9
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i had thought that the ocra would thicken it so i didnt add extra roux or file.
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Old 10-04-2006, 07:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eaglelox
i dont have a thick pot to cook in. so i cooked the gumbo for 45 minutes simmering time, then added the okra and simmered another 30 minutes. Then the shrimp about 8 minutes. The problem is it takes time to get it back to boiling, I am sure that is cooking time as well. Thanks with the roux. I think I'll stick with dark. What is a black roux? Isn't that burnt?
You can overlap your cooking times a little. If the chicken is simmering for 45 minutes, it's done. Add the okra for the last 30 minutes of the original 45 minutes. The shrimp doesn't need 8 minutes. Add it in for the last 3-4 minutes of the okra time.

Black roux isn't burned. It's just short of it though.
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