also called gumbo filé, is a spicy herb made from the dried and ground leaves
of the North American sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum).
Z'herbes, including hot sauce and Filé
is used in Louisiana Creole cuisine in the making of some types of gumbo, a
thick Creole soup or stew often served over rice. Several different varieties
exist. In New Orleans, what is known as Creole gumbo generally ranges
from house to house though still retaining its African and Native American
of Cane River make a gumbo focused much more on filé. Filé can provide
thickening when okra is not in season, in types of gumbo that use okra or a roux
as a thickener for gumbo instead of Filé. Sprinkled sparingly over gumbo as a seasoning
and a thickening agent, Filé powder adds a distinctive, earthy flavor and
is made by harvesting the young leaves and stems of the sassafras plant and
grinding them. Filé powder is generally not added until after the vegetables
and meats and/or seafood are finished cooking and removed from the heat source.