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Gumbo File


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Bond Girl

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 05:54 PM

I was once told by a Louisiana chef that you either use roux or you use file to thicken your gumbo. But, several Cajun cooks that I've met in New Orleans at the recent Jazz Fest say they use both. Who's right? And, are there any other uses for ground Sassafras leaves other than gumbo?
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#2 fifi

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 06:09 PM

That Louisiana "chef" is nuts. Roux is usually the defining element of whatever style of gumbo. In the darker gumbos, the darkly toasted flour loses a lot of thickening power. File is offered at the table for the diner to add to their liking. You don't put it in the gumbo and cook it. It will get slimy and nasty. I really can't think of another use for it, at least that I have seen. He may be thinking of the old adage that you don't use okra and roux at the same time. That isn't necessarily true either. I have seen plenty of folks add file to an okra gumbo. We discussed many of the fine points in the Gumbo Ya Ya cook-off thread.
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#3 highchef

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 06:10 PM

I use a roux no matter what sort of gumbo I'm making. okra will thicken it too, as well as file', but the roux, for a gumbo is mandatory. I think that if you use enough file' to thicken the gumbo, you get an almost astringent taste/smell. File powder has a particular taste all it's own..using too much is like using too many bay leaves, you want the flavor, but not for it to be THE flavor.
I use file' in my creole and etouffee' as well. Crab stew. Shrimp stew. courtbullion. etc.

#4 Alysha

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 06:56 AM

I use roux and roux only to thicken gumbo - no file (I'm afraid to use it because I hear it can ruin it if you don't use it correctly) and no okra (don't like the texture). Roux is important not only for its thickening power, but it also gives the gumbo a gorgeous, deep, brownish/reddish color.

Sorry, I don't know of any other uses for file.....

Mmmmm....gumbo.

#5 slkinsey

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 07:02 AM

I think your chef friend got it slightly wrong. The general sule of thumb is that you either use okra or file in a gumbo, not roux or file.

I don't like okra, so I always use file. You just shake a little into your bowl of gumbo right before you eat it. Or, if you want to do the whole batch, you can stir in some file off the heat. I prefer to do it portion-by-portion, because once you put in the file you really don't want to bring it back to a simmer and this can be problematic in terms of reheating leftovers.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#6 highchef

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 07:24 AM

btw, here's a really good creole sauce recipe. Now you can now make any dish that says it's _____ creole, because this sauce is a creole dish base. http://www.n5mbm.net...creolesauce.htm An etouffee sauce is a bit different. Always served with rice, the file adds a nice color to the end.

#7 Bond Girl

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 07:46 AM

Thanks everyone for the clarification. I just got a package of hand ground Sassafras leaves, and was wondering what to do with it besides Gumbo.
Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

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#8 Kevin Weeks

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 08:42 AM

And, are there any other uses for ground Sassafras leaves other than gumbo?

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I've run across North African or Turkish/Lebanese recipes using file.

Kevin
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#9 Bond Girl

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 09:33 AM

Kevin, would you mind telling me more about it? Do they use it in soups and stews or other kind of dishes....How do they use it?
Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

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#10 Susan in FL

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 09:41 AM

Even when I put okra in gumbo (and I always do), I like it with some file sprinkled on it at the table.
:smile:
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#11 Kevin Weeks

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 10:14 AM

Kevin, would you mind telling me more about it?  Do they use it in soups and stews or other kind of dishes....How do they use it?

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I don't recall. I was researching harissa recipes online and ran across mentions of it a couple of times (not in the harrisa itself).

Sorry I can't offer more info.
Kevin
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. -- Mark Twain
Visit my blog at Seriously Good.

#12 MicBacchus

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 02:40 PM

Doesn't take the place of a roux - file at the table. Add to taste.
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