Today I was in charge of making the huge pot of gumbo- the Christmas Eve traditional gumbo at the in-laws- no pressure here....
As I was stirring at my first attempt at a roux, it became apparent after about 45 minutes that it wasn't browning. I finally just threw it out and tried again- this time burning it!
Finally I called in my mother-in-law (who happens to make the world's best gumbo) and asked her what was wrong. She said that I was trying to make too much- that I needed to just cook up a small roux, put it off to the side in a separate dish, and then cook up some more. I tried doing this, making 4 or 5 separate small batches of roux and combining them together- and everything turned out really great!
But the thing is, I *know* that I should have been able to cook up one big roux rather than so many small batches- where did I go wrong?
That's really weird that you'd have to make small batches. I've seen people make large batches of roux and store it away for later use. Alton Brown made a surprisingly easy looking roux in the oven- you just add the oil and flour together and leave in the oven for about an hour or so and you get it nice and toasty. I think the importance of making a roux is having a nice heavy bottomed sauce pan- it helps retain heat better so you're roux should cook evenly and not burn.