Recipe: Filé Gumbo with Shrimp

Summary: Cajun-style gumbo, made with shrimp and vegetarian sausage


  • 7 – 8 cup vegetable stock
  • 8 ounce clam or oyster juice
  • 2 cup basmati or jasmine rice –uncooked. Less rice if you want it to be more like a soup.
  • 1/2 pound bay shrimp or other large shrimp, cooked and tail removed
  • 4 chipotle veggie sausage links –sliced (Field Roast brand out of Seattle is closest to andouille we could find). If you can’t find this sausage, use ordinary Mexican veggie sausage and chipotle chiles, or some other type of pungent chile as a substitute
  • 1 large sweet or yellow onion chopped
  • 1- 2 pounds diced tomatoes fresh or canned
  • 1 large red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 4 clove garlic crushed or minced
  • 4 tablespoon filé –aka powdered sassafras leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • optional ingredients: okra, flour for roux, squash, sweet corn, potatoes, carrots, red or black beans, spinach or beet greens, eggplant, etc. –anything you might put in a stew.


  1. In a dutch oven or large pot, saute garlic and onions and bell pepper for a few minutes in the oil.
  2. Optional: If you want to make a roux, then add a 1/4 cup of flour and stir until thick and dark brown, or If you use okra, cut up a couple of okra pods and stir it until it breaks down, then…
  3. Add diced tomatoes and optional veggies. Cook it for a moment before adding the clam or oyster juice. Add your uncooked rice, and then the vegetable broth. Add thyme and bay leaves or creole spice mix. Simmer for some time, so the gravy absorbs the flavor of the spices.
  4. Add rice about 30 minutes before serving. Cover until rice is cooked. Add your cooked shrimp, veggie sausage and filé last. Stir for a few minutes, then let simmer for 15 minutes or so. Serve.
  5. This dish can simmer all day, if you want. The rice will eventually begin to break down if you put it in too early. Some people like it this way.

Gumbo is a Native American stew indigenous to the Southeast. It was thickened with sassafras leaves (file). The name “gumbo” means okra, and comes from African-American cooks who adapted it, using okra for a thickener. Okra is not necessary, however, for it to be gumbo. Some Cajun and Creole cooks use a dark rue. Most traditional gumbos use some sort of meat, such as chicken, seafood, or andouille sausage. As vegetarians, we like to use a chipotle flavored sausage made of grain. The chipotle gives it the spiciness and smoky flavor characteristic of traditional andouille.

Cajun gumbo is made as a thin gravy or soup served over rice. The New Orleans creole style is to cook the rice in the soup, so it is very thick, but not as thick as Jambalaya. My recipe is a combination Cajun-Creole style, using filé as its thickener. Although file can act as a thickener, it also adds a subtle flavor. Add it, even if you use okra or roux. Filé can be difficult to find, but you can purchase it fairly easily and cheaply on the internet.

Cooking time (duration): 90 min

Diet type: Pescatarian

Number of servings (yield): 12

Meal type: soups and stews

Culinary tradition: Caribbean and Creole

My Rating: 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Recipe by Duane Poncy on
Microformatting by hRecipe.

This entry was posted in Caribbean-Creole, Duane's Recipes, main dish, Native American, North American, soups & stews. Bookmark the permalink.

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