Seafood File Gumbo

Cajun file gumbo gets its name from the use of file powder - a thickening agent made from the dried aromatic leaves of the sassafras tree, a relative of the bay tree.

Method

1) Peel the prawns and reserve the shells. Mix the prawn shells with the spice mixture and water and bring to the boil in a large stock pot. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
2) Melt the butter and, when foaming, add the onion, green pepper, garlic and flour. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until the flour is pale golden brown. Gradually strain on the stock, discarding the shells and spice mixture. Add the thyme and bay leaf and stir well. Bring to the boil and then simmer until thick.
3) Add the parsley and the Worcestershire sauce to taste. Add the oysters, peeled prawns and tomatoes and eat through gently to cook oysters.
4) Stir in the file powder and leave to stand to thicken. Adjust the seasoning and serve over hot rice.

Enjoy your meal!

Ingredients

Salt And Pepper
Cooked Rice To Serve
File Powder (optional) 2 TBSPS
Tomatoes, Skinned And Chopped 225g (8 Oz)
Fresh Oysters, On The ½ Shell 12
Dash Of Worcestershire Sauce
Chopped Parsley 2 TBSPS
Bay Leaf 1
Sprig Of Thyme
Flour 3 TBSPS
Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped 2
Green Pepper, Sliced 1
Onion Diced 1
Each Of Whole Cloves, Whole Allspice, Coriander Seeds Ad Mustard Seeds ½ TBSP
Butter 60g (2 Oz)
Water 1.14 Litres (2 Pints)
King Prawns Cooked, Unpeeled 460g (1lb)

Hints 'n' Tips

If they are available, use raw, unpeeled king prawns and cook with the water and the spice mixture until they turn pink and curl up. Drain them, reserving the liquid. Peel and return the shells to the stock. Re-boil the stock and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.

If file powder is not available, use equal portions of butter and flour mixed together to a paste. Add a bit of the paste at a time to the mix, and boil in between additions, whisking well, until the required thickness is reached.

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