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how to use gumbo filé powder

[1] Several different varieties exist. File powder is a seasoning made from the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. Sign In or Register. The history of file powder can be traced back to the Choctaw Indians in the Southern US, around the same time that the Cajuns arrived in Louisiana and brought their own range of spices! Add filé to gumbo or other liquid mixtures shortly before serving. It can be used when cooking stews and is also popular in Cajun cooking to make the likes of jambalaya – you’ll find it in many a Cajun cookbook. For this one, you’re going to use carrots, bell pepper, celery, okra, eggplant, mushroom, chile, and gumbo file. [3], Filé powder is made by harvesting the young leaves and stems of the sassafras tree and grinding them. The Talk forum is closed - check out our Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter accounts instead. Early cooks made their choice based on season. [9] Okra was a common thickener in soups and stews prepared by the African inhabitants of Louisiana, who were brought to the colony in large numbers beginning in 1719. Filé powder is the culinary term used for ground sassafras root. The Creoles of Cane River make a gumbo focused much more on filé. In addition to contributing an unusual flavor, the powder also acts as a thickener when added to liquid. Sprinkle file powder sparingly over gumbo as a seasoning and a thickening agent, stirring it in at the end of your cooking. File powder smells like eucalyptus or Juicy Fruit gum, and has a distinctive "root beer" flavor. They served gumbo over corn grits, a pairing common in the stews of native tribes. Even pasta can benefit from a little! Use file powder when you don't have [or don't like] okra, as this magic powder will thicken soup or sauce in the same way. The popular Hank Williams song from the 'fifties goes, "Jambalaya, crawfish pie,..., file gumbo..." The famous file powder (pronounced [fee-lay]) from the song refers to a spice made from the dried, ground leaves of the sassafras tree. COVID-19 update: Closed for in-store shopping Tuesday & Wednesday. [10][11] The earliest known mention of the dish is from a transcript of the interrogation of an enslaved African woman named Comba in 1764. The spice was used not only as a flavouring at this time, but also as a thickener – often being used to thicken gumbos and stews. Who ever thought that a thickener would become so iconic in Cajun cuisine? Filé powder should be added towards the end of cooking and should not be re-heated, as it will break down and become stringy. Rockford, MI 49341, Complete List of Spices, Seasonings & Herbs. Other scholars have suggested that the name may derive from the Choctaw word for filé (kombo). [15], "Filé gumbo" is famously mentioned in the classic country song by Hank Williams Sr., "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)", which held the number-one position on the U.S. country music charts for fourteen non-consecutive weeks in 1952. Long before the use of file powder for Creole and Cajun cooking, Choctaw Indians pounded sassafras leaves into powder and added them to soups and stews. Filé powder is usually made by grinding dried leaves of the sassafras tree. What about you? Another great way to use it is to add it to a soup, where it will not only lend its delicious flavor, but also help to thicken it up to provide a more soothing and warming consistency! But a vocal group of resisters insist that gumbo derives from kombo, the Choctaw word for "filé." Generally, the best time to use gumbo file powder is when you don’t have okra. Hence the name! COVID-19 update: Closed for in-store shopping Tuesday & Wednesday see details... 400 East Locust, Suite 5 Filé powder is used in Louisiana Creole cuisine in the making of some types of gumbo, a thick Creole soup or stew often served over rice. They were believed to have been first used by the Choctaw Indians from Louisiana bayou region.Today the powder is used to both thicken and flavor gumbo. [13] This is further implied by a late 18th-century Creole practice. Expert tips for cooking with—and caring for—copper cookware. Don't let the file powder come to a boil -- … Sprinkle file powder sparingly over gumbo as a seasoning and a thickening agent, stirring it in at the end of your cooking. Use file powder when you don't have [or don't like] okra, as this magic powder will thicken soup or sauce in the same way. As ever though, the best way to get an idea for how to use gumbo file is to try using it in cooking! [2] Sprinkled sparingly over gumbo as a seasoning and a thickening agent, filé powder adds a distinctive, earthy flavor and texture. For the Cajun French who named it, filé roughly translates as "stringy," and overcooking can have just that result, especially if the gumbo gets reheated: a common practice, since gumbo's better the second day. Filé powder is often used as a thickener, more than a flavor agent. As an Amazon Associate KitchenSurfing.com earns commission from qualifying purchases. As European settlers moved into the area, they adopted the Choctaws' use of filé, which became a permanent fixture in the quintessential dish of Cajun and Creole cuisine—gumbo. You can head to work and by the time you get home, this delicious and warming meal will be ready for you! More Information. Add all of this to a slow cooker with some rice and then leave to cook. Tips for Using Filé Powder . The flavor profile of sassafras root the basis of Filé is similar to root beer. Some culinary experts in the early 20th century, including Celestine Eustis, suggested that Filé powder was an early version of a special-occasion recipe for native tribes. Gumbo can be bitter if you burn the roux. … More Information. Otherwise, it was filé. [14] According to a study published in 1997, the tree's leaves (from which filé is produced), do not contain detectable amounts of safrole. Add filé toward the end of cooking, or do as some folks do—bring it to the table to be stirred in by the diner. When in season, okra is used to thicken gumbo and filé powder is used when it isn’t. From there, they gain further thickening from either filé or okra. The root, and leaves, of the Sassafras tree, were first used by the Choctaw Indians as a thickener. A mainstay thickener and flavor of Creole cuisine and in particular its use in gumbo. File powder (pronounced [FEE-lay]) powder is one of the key ingredients in making gumbo and has a distinctive "root beer" flavor. Once upon a time, it was thought that humans shouldn’t consume the plant due to the active ingredient “safrole”, which has been shown to have a very mild carcinogenic effect. … Filé is more than a thickener; it also imparts an earthy flavor and has a fruity aroma similar to coriander seeds. In fact, some people feel that gumbo file is so crucial in Cajun cooking, that they will actually add it to the table along with a little Tabasco – just like you might add salt and pepper grinder sets! The following recipe calls for filé powder, a spice made from the dried, ground leaves of the sassafras tree. Gumbo may have derived its name from the Choctaw word for filé (kombo). First, consider that because file powder is so strong, you should aim to begin with a little amount, and then add more if needed, but don’t go beyond what you may want or need. Once upon a time, it was thought that humans shouldn’t consume the plant due to the active ingredient “safrole”, which has been shown to have a very mild carcinogenic effect. Several different varieties exist. And hence why so many people keep the ingredient in their spice racks for just such a time as they need to use stock pots to make some flavoured stock. Then finished with some gumbo file and now am thinking I like it better before the file. Virtually every gumbo-of which there are probably thousands-starts with roux. info@allspiceonline.com A mainstay thickener, flavor of Creole cuisine, delicate root beer-like flavorant,  and a key ingredient in a Hank Williams song lyric. The most poplar dish that features the filé flavor, and texture, is Gumbo from the American South, specifically Louisiana. Most authorities agree that gumbo takes its name from kingombo, the African word for "okra." File powder is a necessary ingredient for Cajun cuisine, especially Gumbo. Often added to Creole soups and stews, it acts as a seasoning as well as a thickening agent. That’s good news: after all, the flavouring is extremely versatile and very useful. Filé powder is often used as a thickener, more than a flavor agent. Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review. Adding it while the liquid is boiling can yield a stringy or slimy texture. File powder will lend a unique flavor to stews, sauces and other hearty dishes. Comments are closed HIDE COMMENTS. Perhaps it's a moot point, because filé and okra seldom appear in the same pot. [5], Choctaw Indians of the American South (Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana) were the first to use dried, ground sassafras leaves as a seasoning. The earthy taste of file powder is similar to thyme combined with savory. The aroma is woodsy, with rosemary-like notes. The other part of the name ‘file’ actually comes from the French filer – which means to spin threads. This tree is native to Eastern North America and is also used in the production of root beer! In New Orleans, what is known as Creole gumbo generally varies from house to house though still retaining its Native American origins. 515.868.0808. Des Moines, Iowa 50309 It can be scary to use file powder for the first time, as it has a very powerful aroma and flavor, but some things can make your cooking process easier. This tree is native to Eastern North America and is also used in the production of root beer! New Orleans food authority Poppy Tooker speculates that the earliest Cajuns must have thickened their stews with filé alone, as they lacked the wheat flour to make a roux. Filé powder, also known as gumbo filé, is an herbal powder made from the dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum), native to eastern North America.

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