Gumbo. Is File powder worth it?

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Stock Pot

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I have tried it and gone back to cornstarch for a thickener. Now, I know cornstarch doesn't hold up for leftovers, but I try to make just enough gumbo for one meal (for two) so we don't have leftovers.

Anyway, the weather is getting cold around here and perfect for this Cajun comfort food, which everybody should learn how to make.
 
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Dawgluver

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We'll have to ask a southerner. I know it gives gumbo that little “sumthin sumthin”.
 

Andy M.

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Not sure why you chose cornstarch. Gumbo is traditionally thickened with a roux. Filé can be cooked into the gumbo or served at the table for a final seasoning.
 

caseydog

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I put file on the table for people to add, if they want. I don't care for it, myself.

Between the roux and the okra, I don't think anything else is needed for thickening.

CD
 

CraigC

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I thicken gumbo with a roux. The color is based upon the gumbo I'm making. Karen isn't a fan of file', so if I use it, it is as a condiment. No okra here either.:ermm:
 

CraigC

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Roux for gumbo can be a light peanut butter color, dark red-brown or black depending on the gumbo you are making.
 

JustJoel

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I have tried it and gone back to cornstarch for a thickener. Now, I know cornstarch doesn't hold up for leftovers, but I try to make just enough gumbo for one meal (for two) so we don't have leftovers.

Anyway, the weather is getting cold around here and perfect for this Cajun comfort food, which everybody should learn how to make.
I have been making gumbo for years. I’ve got a bottle of file in my spice rack (basically a jumble of spices overflowing from a cheap plastic grocery store box), but I’ve never used it. I’ve always used frozen, cut okra as the final thickener. I was told you could use one or the other, but not both, and my husband loves okra…
 

caseydog

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Also, the longer and darker you cook the roux, the less thickening power it has.

I find the benefit to a dark (chocolate) roux in gumbo is the earthy flavor it gives the broth. Any thickening is fine, but my experience eating real cajun gumbo made by real cajun "MawMaws" is that the broth is not all that thick -- just very rich in flavor.

That's why I am curious about how thick the OP is trying to make her gumbo.

CD
 
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GotGarlic

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I find the benefit to a dark (chocolate) roux in gumbo is the earthy flavor it gives the broth. Any thickening is fine, but my experience eating real cajun gumbo made by real cajun "MawMaws" is that the broth is not all that thick -- just very rich in flavor.

That's why I am curious about how thick the OP is trying to make her gumbo.

I haven't had, or made, a lot of gumbo. I was just adding some information to what Craig said about cooking roux to different degrees. If the OP is cooking the roux to a dark color and then adding the same amount of liquid you would to make a béchamel sauce, that would explain why it's not as thick as she expected.

But yes, asking how thick she's trying to make it is a good question.
 

afterburn25

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I put file on the table for people to add, if they want. I don't care for it, myself.

Between the roux and the okra, I don't think anything else is needed for thickening.

CD


thats what you want to do. you never ever ever want to put file' in the pot of gumbo as it will make storing it impossible as the file' will make it slimy at that point you will have to throw out the whole pot. always put just what you need in the bowl your gonna eat.
 
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