Filé Gumbo

Kitchen Tested
  • Yield 10-12 servings
  • Prep 25 mins
  • Cook 40 mins

When okra is not in season, classic Louisiana gumbo is thickened with the aromatic leaves of sassafrass.

Gumbo filé powder is the dried and ground leaves of sassafras used as an herb and thickener in some Creole and Cajun recipes. It has a faint but distinctive flavor.


3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon salt
1 bay leaf, crushed
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 cup diced white onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 quart clam juice
1 1/2 pounds small or medium shrimp, peeled, shells reserved
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups fresh shelled oysters, drained
1 pound lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
1 pound frozen crawfish tail meat
8 cups cooked white rice
4 green onions, chopped
Filé powder


  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir in flour; cook until smooth and darkened (about the color of a penny). Add thyme and next 9 ingredients (thyme through garlic). Cook until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and cool about 30 minutes.
  2. Bring chicken broth, clam juice and reserved shrimp shells to a boil in a large pot. Cook 10 minutes. Remove shrimp shells, and reserve stock.
  3. Add vegetable mixture to stock and blend well. Add tomatoes, oysters, crab, crawfish and shrimp. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Serve over rice; sprinkle with green onions. Pass filé powder at the table for sprinkling on each serving.

Recipe by Jo Marshall



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 277 other followers