Filé Gumbo

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“Gumbo, the ultimate Cajun food. It's really just a thick stew served with rice, and isn't nearly as difficult or exotic as some TV chefs will make you think it is. Here's the simple, home cooking version my family actually cooks in Louisiana. This recipe uses chicken and sausage, but you can use anything that swims, flies, walks or crawls. Shrimp, alligator, turkey, ham, anything you like. This one is also a filé (sassafras powder) gumbo, which means no okra. If you prefer okra, you can add some, I just don't really like it that much if it's not fried. If you can't find filé in your area, it can be mail ordered, or you can leave it out, but the results will not be as good without it.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Cook chicken if it's not already cooked. Leftovers work fine for this. Set aside.
  2. Place sausage in a large stockpot over medium high heat, and cook until lightly browned, and some oil is released. Set aside with chicken.
  3. Add 2 tbsp oil to pot, and saute onion, bell pepper, and celery until soft. Add garlic in the last few minutes. Set vegetables aside with chicken and sausage, wipe stockpot to remove any vegetable pieces.
  4. Add 1/4 cup oil to pot, and allow to heat over medium until it starts to "shimmer". Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly until the flour and oil mixture takes on a rich brown color. If I'm using sausage or ham, I like to do a chocolate colored roux, for seafood and poultry, I like a caramel color. Use your own judgment.
  5. When your roux is as you like it, add the chicken broth (You may sub seafood broth, or turkey stock, depending on your ingredients) stir constantly while adding broth to avoid lumps. You should have something resembling a thin gravy.
  6. Add meats and vegetables back to pot, add cajun seasoning. (I like Tony Chachere's, but you can use any kind you like. If this ingredient is not available in your area, several good ones have been posted to Zaar.).
  7. Simmer your gumbo for half an hour, or more if you like, keeping the heat low to avoid breaking the roux. This gives time for the flavors to mingle. If you're using a delicate shellfish, like shrimp, add it later in the simmer to avoid toughening it.
  8. When ready to serve, add hot sauce and filé, stir well, and ladle over a bowl of rice. Keep the filé, hot sauce, and Cajun seasoning out on the table, so diners may add more of any they like. This is wonderful accompanied by a loaf of crusty French bread and a crisp salad.

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