Filé Gumbo Recipe | PBS Food

In Natchitoches, Louisiana, Lidia is introduced to Lillie Delphin, who is well known for her Creole cooking. Lidia learns that the Creole people are multicultural, a mixture of the French, Spanish, African-American and Native Indian. Together, Lillie and Lidia make this delicious Gumbo and enjoy the meal with friends from Natchitoches.

Lidia's special, A Heartland Holiday Feast, shows her traveling cross-country, and meeting Americans with diverse heritages and culinary traditions.


Prep time: 20 Hours

Cook time: 3 Hours


  • 1 large hen
  • 2 lbs smoked sausage(s)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 large bunch parsley (reserve handful for finish)
  • 1 large bunch green onions (reserve handful for finish)
  • 5 cups water starting
  • filé to taste
  • Roux
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup all purpose flour


  1. Cut chicken and sausages into small pieces.
  2. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  3. In a large pot with lid, add chicken, sausages, ½ of chopped vegetables, water, and bring to a steady boil.
  4. In a heavy skillet, place cooking oil and ap flour to make a roux.
  5. Starting with a cold skillet, stir constantly until roux mixture reaches a rusty nail color or darker, if desired.
  6. Turn off heat, add remaining chopped vegetables and continue to stir roux to help cool the mixture.
  7. After the roux mixture stops cooking, uncover boiling pot, and carefully add roux mixture, one spoon at a time. (mixture will foam up at this point).
  8. Stir pot after each addition of roux mixture until the pot settles down.
  9. Continue this addition process until all roux is used. .
  10. Continue to simmer uncovered gumbo pot for 2 hours (until chicken is tender).
  11. Add more water to pot if needed.
  12. Remove gumbo pot from heat and let rest for 30 minutes.
  13. Check pot for visible grease cap and skim to remove.
  14. Add reserved greenery and stir.
  15. Add two (2) teaspoons filé and stir.
  16. Serve over hot rice.
  17. Individual addition of filé is made at this point.
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