A signature ingredient in gumbo and other Creole dishes, file powder, or Gumbo File, is used for its delicate but distinct flavor and thickening characteristics.
File was introduced by the Choctaw Nation in Louisiana. File is a sassafras leaf — we added thyme to give it our own deep, distinctive flavor.
Gumbo is one of the great comfort foods to come out of Louisiana. This spicy, rich concoction is actually more of a stew than a soup, but it is really in a class by itself. The word “gumbo” means “okra,” and there is plenty of it in this recipe. The amount of rice served with the gumbo should be dictated by personal preference. File powder is made from ground sassafras leaves.
1 large onion, diced
1 medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes, with their juices
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra
1 small zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon file powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups hot cooked long grain rice