Photo Taken by Nicole Ramos

This dish takes a bit of love and care to make, but oh so worth it in the end.  What makes a true gumbo is the file powder, which is made from sassafras leaves.  It has a distinct flavor and smells almost like eucalyptus.   It’s sometimes difficult to find in the grocery stores, but I’m so glad (but it’s also dangerous) that they opened up a Penzey’s Spice store down the street from me!!  I’ve already planned on reorganizing my kitchen to see how many new spices I could stuff in my cabinet…

Have no fear if you can’t find this seasoning.  Due to undeniable cravings and a need, no really a NEED for gumbo, I’ve made it without the file powder and it’s just as tasty.  There are many variations out there and I even have seafood gumbo recipe, but this recipe contains some chicken, Andouille sausage and shrimp for a nice mixture.  Gumbo can be served alone or with rice, but it’s amazing with the Green Chili Cheese Cornbread!

Prep Time: Cook   Time: Level: Serves:
25 min. 2 ½ hrs. Intermediate 6-8


  • 3 lg.      boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 TBS   Cajun seasoning
  • ¼  C     vegetable oil
  • 1 lb.      andouille sausage
  • ½  C     all-purpose flour
  • 5 TBS   butter or margarine
  • 1 lg.      onion, chopped
  • 8 clv.    garlic minced
  • 1          green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • ¼ C      Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ C      parsley (coarsely chopped) plus some for garnish
  • 4 C       water
  • 5          beef bouillon cubes
  • 1          (14-ounce can) stewed tomatoes with juice
  • 4          green onions, sliced, white and green parts
  • ½ lb.     jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined and cooked
  • 1-2 tsp  Filé powder


  1. Chop up the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery, set aside in small bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Season and then brown chicken on both sides and remove (about 3 min. on each side). Add the sausage and brown for 3 min., and then remove.
  3. Lower the heat to medium.  Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool.
  4. Slice up sausage and chicken.
  5. Return the pot to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons margarine. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, making sure to cover the vegetables in the roux and then add Worcestershire sauce, a little more Cajun seasoning to taste and the parsley.
  6. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add 4 cups hot water and bouillon cubes, whisking constantly, until the bouillon is dissolved.
  7. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
  8. Add the stewed tomatoes, stir and at that time cover and simmer for 1 hour. Just before serving add the green onions, shrimp, some more chopped parsley and filé powder.  Add enough filé to thicken and flavor to your preference.
  9. I recommend that you keep the filé powder near the guests, so they may thicken their gumbo to their preference also.

3 thoughts on “Gumbo

  1. file’ powder does not make gumbo.

    It is a way of making Gumbo…certainly – but there is a more down home method of making gumbo.

    Replace the file powder with a roux – and use plenty of orkra. (Okra makes gumbo)
    That; some would argue – is real Gumbo. None of the File powder stuff… all from scratch all made for each batch.

    Try a gumbo recipe without the file, and with a Roux…it speaks to the heritage of the dish. Its an ancient african okra stew dish, with french influence – Creole if you will.

      • Thank you for the insight!. I left out okra in my recipe because I just can’t enjoy it. Others are welcome to add it to this recipe. As for the file powder. I thought it gave the gumbo a distant flavor above all.
        I’m glad you’re enjoying the site and hope you continue to stay tuned in the future, as there will be many great changes and recipes to come.

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