Rice Gumbo with Catfish

Rice Gumbo with Catfish

This tasty stew-like dish is a classic Creole specialty. Filé powder is standard to Creole cuisine and in the ground dried leaves of the sassafras tree. Delicious here with blackened catfish.

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Ingredients
  • 4 tsp (20 mL) vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 8 cups (2 L) chicken broth
  • 1 cup (250 mL) sliced okra
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) uncooked U.S. medium or short grain rice
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) filé powder (dried sassafras)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) each: black pepper, dried basil, dried thyme, cayenne pepper and salt
  • 4 U.S. Catfish fillets (about 1 lb/500 g)
Directions
  1. In large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tsp (5 mL) oil; sauté garlic and onion. Stir in tomatoes, broth, okra, rice, fresh thyme and file powder. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook, covered, 30 minutes or until vegetables and rice are tender.
  2. In shallow pie plate, combine paprika, peppers, salt, dried basil and thyme. Heat remaining oil in a large deep skillet over high heat until it starts to smoke. Dip one side only of each catfish fillet in seasoning. Carefully place each fillet, seasoned side down in skillet. Allow fish to blacken; turn after 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 5 to 6 minutes longer or until fish is tender and flakes easily with a fork.
  3. Divide gumbo among 4 shallow bowls; arrange fillets on top.