Gumbo Filé Sassafras

Sometimes just called filé powder for short, powdered sassafras leaf is a cornerstone ingredient of Cajun cooking, especially classic gumbo. It was originally used by cooks in the Choctaw tribe as a thickener and flavoring. Sassafras root is the basis of root beer, so the powder infuses everything with a similarly earthy, rich flavor, but with a more verdant quality. It should be added to dishes toward the end of cooking.