Shrimp & tasso file gumbo

Shrimp & tasso file gumbo

The Hang Fire Cookbook

This is one of the first Cajun dishes we were taught to cook in the States, and really, where our obsession with NOLA cuisine started. Throughout Louisiana, we were always on a mission to try the town’s best gumbo. The flavours were so intense and exotic to us that, at the time, we thought that every bowl was good. Essentially, gumbo is a rich thyme-infused stew, full of dark bouillon flavours with hunks of tasty sausage, tasso, chicken and fish.

There’s a thrill in the art of perfecting that dark brown roux. Watching it change colour minute by minute, it’s mesmerising. You can serve your gumbo over plain rice, a big scoop of Hoppin’ John or with a hunks of crusty French bread.


Quantity Ingredient
130ml vegetable oil
120g plain flour
150g tasso ham, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced
2 celery sticks, diced
3 tablespoons creole seasoning
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
1.5 litres cold chicken stock
2 teaspoons dried thyme
350g shell-on jumbo prawns, rinsed and heads removed
2 teaspoons filé powder
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 spring onions, finely sliced
sea salt flakes
fresh cracked pepper, to taste


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based pan, or cast-iron casserole, over medium heat. Add the flour, and use a wooden spoon to mix well. Stir the flour frequently, for 20–25 minutes, until it turns milk chocolate in colour. Be super-careful it doesn’t splash you.
  2. When your roux is ready, add your tasso ham, stir for 1 minute, then throw in your Louisiana ‘holy trinity’ of vegetables: the onion, bell pepper and celery. Mix through and add 1 tablespoon of the Creole seasoning, the garlic and bay leaves, stirring often for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened. You’ll notice the heat of the roux will start cooking the vegetables and ham very quickly.
  3. Next, gradually add the cold chicken stock, a ladle at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the remaining Creole seasoning and thyme. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, turn the heat down to medium-low, and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. About 10 minutes before the end of the cook time, add your prawns, filé powder, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and spring onions, and season to taste. Cook for 3–5 minutes, until the prawns are fully pink and cooked through. Serve immediately.
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