Author Topic: Recipe: Filé like having some gumbo?  (Read 895 times)

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Offline Little Feather

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Recipe: Filé like having some gumbo?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2013, 12:32:54 AM »
Filé like having some gumbo?
By Prudence Hilburn

As the weather turns cooler in the fall, my thoughts often turn to Cajun food such as a big pot of gumbo.

In properly seasoned Cajun food, no one spice is dominant. There is a perfect blend of many seasonings. I refer to it as “a delight in every bite.”

The word gumbo means “okra,” and this vegetable is used often in the gumbo as a thickener. However, the following recipe for gumbo is made with filé (pronounced fee-lay), and it contains no okra.

Filé is ground sassafras leaves, and the word means “to twist and make threads.” This is exactly what happens when the filé is added too soon. It is very important that it be added just before serving.

One of the most difficult parts in making gumbo is perfecting the roux. A roux is a mixture of equal parts of flour and fat (the fat can be shortening, oil or lard) which is cooked slowly until it reaches the desired color for the dish that you are making. For gumbo, the roux should be very dark. Roux must be stirred or whisked continuously because it can burn easily if left unattended. If it scorches, throw it out and start over.

While in New Orleans many years ago, I enjoyed a flavorful bowl of gumbo at the “Cookin’ Cajun” school, and for dessert, we had Bananas Foster. For this rich and delicious dessert, banana slices were cooked in a caramel sauce, and the flavor was accented with the addition of banana liqueur. As the lights went down, flaming rum was poured over the bananas and the mixture was spooned over vanilla ice cream.

The recipe for gumbo is printed with the permission of The Cookin’ Cajun Cooking School.

Chicken and Andouille Filé Gumbo

1 fryer, cut up

1½ pounds Andouille sausage (or Kielbasa)

½ cup oil

½ cup flour

2 cups chopped onion

½ cup chopped bell pepper

1 cup chopped celery

6 cups chicken stock (unsalted)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

Salt (to taste)

Pepper (to taste)

Cayenne (to taste)

Thyme (about 1 teaspoon)

6 to 8 bay leaves

Garnish: green onions and fresh parsley

Filé powder

In a heavy Dutch oven, brown chicken and set aside. In same pot, make a dark brown roux with remaining oil and flour. Add onions and brown (about 5 minutes). Add bell pepper and celery. Cook 5 more minutes. Add stock, garlic and seasonings (to taste) except for filé powder. Bring to a boil, then turn to simmer. Add chicken and sausage and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Remove the bay leaves. Serve over boiled rice. Garnish with green onions and parsley. Add filé powder at the table. This gumbo freezes well.

NOTE:  Good, pure Filé powder is hard to find.  Much of it is cut with less expensive inert ingredients or contains added salt.  The genuine article is 100% Sassafras leaves.  Excellent wildcrafted filé powder is available from Herm & HannaH's herbs available only from Back 40 General Store.com.  Click this link to check it out: http://shop.b40gs.com/Herbs_c10.htm

tags:  Filé powder, Sassafras leaves, gumbo recipes, authentic gumbo recipe, Herm & HannaH's Herbs, B40GS.com, Back 40 General Store, Wildcrafted herbs, File powder, Filet Powder
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 03:57:09 AM by Little Feather »