Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr
Filé (FEE-lay) is made from the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree and has become an integral part of Creole cuisine. It is used to thicken and flavor gumbos and other Creole dishes, giving them a woodsy flavor reminiscent of root beer. It must be stirred into a dish after it's removed from the heat because overcooking makes filé tough and stringy. From the Creole chapter of the United States Regional Cookbook, Culinary Arts Institute of Chicago, 1947.
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease
- 1 bunch green onion
- 2 cups okra, chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes, chopped (canned is fine)
- 6 cups chicken stock or 6 cups beef stock or 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1 chili pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled and cut in half
- 1 tablespoon file powder
- Heat bacon grease in a large saucepan.
- Clean and chop green onions, reserving 1 cup of the green tops.
- Saute onions and okra in the grease for ten minutes.
- Add tomatoes and cook for another five minutes.
- Add stock, peppers, reserved green onion tops, thyme, bay leaf and salt.
- Bring to a boil and cook about ten minutes.
- Add shrimp.
- Cover, reduce heat and cook slowly for an hour.
- Just before serving, add file powder moistened with a little broth.
- Serve with steamed rice.