Neighborhoods and Activities in Baton Rouge


Just What's In Gumbo? What is It? Is Fele Gumbo Different?


This weekend is the big Louisiana Fur and Wildlife festival in Camerson, and after blogging on it I got some questions about Gumbo.  For all of you unfamiliar with this delicacy, it deserves a few comments.

Gumbo is a stew or soup which originated in south Louisiana in the 18th century.  Hunters and fishermen took meat of the day and mixed it with a strong stock, a thickener, and vegetables, often celery and bell peppers and onion which were plentiful.  One of the more famous varieties uses a spice called "Fele".  This powder is made from dried and ground sassafras leaves.  "Fele" can give some thickening when okra is not in season, as well as giving the stew a very distictive flavor.  Over the years ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures influenced the hundreds of recipes that are available today: French, Spanish, West African, and native American Indians (Choctaw); and later the Italians, Germans, and other Europeans.

The meat components can be anything available, seafood, chicken, sausage, duck, wild game meat, or sausage made from any of these things.

Here are a few of the more interesting recipes:

Some of the most popular Mardi Gras Gumbos

Andouille File Gumbo

Nutria Gumbo  (video)

Alligator or Crocodile Gumbo

Wild Duck Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo

Comment balloon 3 commentsAnn Dail • January 06 2011 08:12PM


Ann - Always learn something here. I never heard of that 'fele' spice before. I looked up the alligator recipe. Sounds good, but I'm not too inclined to eat the alligator. Think I would opt for a chicken substitution!
Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 9 years ago

What a great post to share with others that don't get to sample our yummy Gumbo!  We have some cold weather coming so my pot will be on the stove!

Posted by Marilyn Boudreaux, Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor (Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Bono Realty) over 9 years ago

Sounds wonderful, Ann. I'll have to try some of them out, we are great soup lovers in my house espcially the hearty ones.

Posted by Toni Weidman, 20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL (Sailwinds Realty) over 9 years ago