Photo: Iain Bagwell

Master the foolproof method for the classic base of gravies, sauces, and gumbos.

Step 1: Heat fat (butter, oil, or bacon drippings) in a Dutch oven or skillet over medium, and whisk in an equal amount of flour. A butter-based roux cooks over lower heat so it takes a little longer but provides a nutty and rich flavor.

Step 2: Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth and thick, like a wet sand consistency. Continue cooking to desired doneness.

Step 3: Know your colors, which vary by cook time: White is for creamy sauces, blond for gravy, and deep brown for traditional gumbo. While most say a roux must be dark brown in color, a butter-based roux should be a deep shade of caramel.

Now that you’ve got your roux, you’re ready for some gumbo. Here are some of your favorite recipes.

Chicken-and-Sausage Gumbo
A symbol of Creole cooking, gumbo is ubiquitous in homes and restaurants across Louisiana. Andouille sausage and file powder make this chicken-and-sausage gumbo a classic.

Best Ever Seafood Gumbo
Looking for a little more seafood in your gumbo? This recipe is filled with fresh crab, shrimp, and oysters. It is perfect for a party because most of the work can be done ahead of time.

Shrimp-and-Sausage Gumbo
What’s so great about this gumbo recipe? It can be prepared in a sow cooker. Let this Louisiana classic simmer for 5 to 6 hours and you’re ready for dinner.

“Big Easy” Gumbo
We love to server this party favorite with Hoppin’ John and a fresh green salad. Cooked in a large Dutch oven for just under 50 minutes, this is a “big reward with little effort” recipe.

Gumbo Gravy over Stone-ground Grits
This is about as Southern as it gets. The light gravy just means you can eat more shrimp and Andouille sausage. Served over grits means we can start the day with it right?

Chicken-Tasso-Andouille Sausage Gumbo
Tasso is a spicy smoked cut of pork or beef popular in many Cajun dishes. We’re just glad it made it into this recipe.