Lil’ Dizzy’s Café in New Orleans is serving up some tasty Creole Gumbo.
Their recipe for uses the traditional filé powder (ground sassafras leaves). Filé was first used by the Choctaw Indians as spicy seasoning that also acted as a thickening agent (rather than other traditional methods of using okra or roux as a thickener).
Ingredients for Creole Filé Gumbo
* 1¼ pounds seasoning ham
* 1¼ pounds smoked sausage
* 1½ pounds chicken pieces
* ½ pound hot sausage
* 1½ pounds peeled shrimp
* 6 to 8 gumbo crabs
* 1 dozen oysters
* 2 cups chopped onion
* ¼ cup chopped garlic
* 3 green onions, chopped
* ½ green bell pepper, chopped
* 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
* 5 bay leaves
* ⅔ cup vegetable oil
* 4 to 5 tablespoons flour
* 10 cups water
* filé powder
* salt and pepper
* hot cooked rice, for serving
Method of Preparation:
1. Cube ham and slice sausages. Heat oil in an eight to ten-quart pot. Add ham to brown.
2. Add onions and cook until tender. Add chicken and sausages and brown. Add shrimp and other seasonings and cook five minutes.
3. Sprinkle flour over meats and seasonings and stir well.
4. Add water and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add gumbo crabs and cook on medium to low fire about 45 minutes. Add oysters and cook five minutes. Turn off heat.
6. Add filé powder (to taste) and stir into gumbo. Serve over cooked rice. Serves 10 to 12.
Note: seasoning ham is simply leftover baked ham, ham steaks, etc. chopped into 1/4 inch pieces. If your crowd doesn’t care for heat, substitute your favorite breakfast sausage links for hot sausage; just make sure it isn’t a variety that includes syrup or other sweeteners. Gumbo crabs are readily found in the freezer section of Louisiana supermarkets; they’re the leftover crab after the jumbo lump meat has been removed from the body of the crab. If you do not have access to gumbo crabs, substitute 1 quart of boxed seafood 1 quart of water.