Spicy Filé Gumbo with Shrimp and Andouille

Serves 8

In Cajun-Creole cooking the moniker given to the combination of onion, celery and bell pepper is the ‘trinity’.

Filé (pronounced FEE lay) powder is made from ground sassafras leaves and is one of three thickening agents.  So with the addition of filé powder you have filé gumbo!  Okra can also be used and depending on the color of the roux, the roux itself is a thickener.  Though the darker the roux the less capacity it has to thicken.

The Shrimp Seasoning Mixture
1 ½ t paprika
1 ½ t garlic powder
1 t salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
½ t onion powder
½ t. dried basil leaves
½ t dried thyme leaves
¼ t cayenne pepper
2 pounds shelled shrimp

The Gumbo
2/3 c vegetable oil
2/3 c flour
¼ c minced garlic
2 c minced celery
1 c minced green bell pepper
1 c minced red bell pepper
1 c minced scallions
2 qts plus 1 c bottled clam juice
Two 28-oz cans of whole tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 t dried thyme leave
1 t dried oregano leaves
1 t ground allspice
½ t cayenne pepper
2 cloves
½ t Louisiana hot sauce
1 T plus 1 t lemon juice
1 pound andouille sausage, cut in ¼ inch slices
1 to 2 T filé powder – add off heat

Serve over cooked white rice


  1.  Spicing up the shrimp: Mix the Shrimp Seasoning Mixture in a small bowl.  Put the shrimp in a medium sized bowl.  Add the spice mixture and mix thoroughly.  Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Making the gumbo: Place the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Just as it starts to smoke, add the flour, about one third at a time, whisking well after each addition. Cook over fairly high heat, whisking constantly, until the roux reaches a dark, reddish brown, about 20 minutes.  Note: If the roux seems too hot or about to burn, move the pan off the heat, continue whisking and start adding the trinity until you feel the heat is under control.  Then return the pan to the heat.
  3. When the roux is ready, add the vegetables. Place the pan over low heat, and cook the vegetables in the roux for 5 minutes.
  4. Bring the clam juice to a boil in a large soup pot. When the vegetables have cooked in the roux, add the roux-vegetable mixture to the boiling clam juice, by quarter-cupfuls, blending well. Crush the tomatoes in your hands, and add them, along with the liquid in the cans, to the soup pot.  Add the bay leaves, thyme, oregano, allspice, cayenne, cloves, hot sauce and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, partially covered. Add the andouille, and simmer the gumbo for another 20 minutes, partially covered.
  5. Add the seasoned shrimp, and simmer for 5 minutes. Off the heat, blend in the filé powder, blending until the desired thickness is reached. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately over rice.


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