Bow Hunters' Seafood Gumbo Filé

Michigan has more than 300,000 archery hunters and the season has just begun. Our state has the highest number of bow hunters in the nation! This is a great soup for deer camp, because no matter how cold it gets outside, these vittles will warm you up. The secret spice is filé powder which you can find in most stores.

This is one of the soup specialties of our restaurant. I have been asked countless times to give out this recipe which I got from a Cajun fellow working as a chef on a fishing vessel off the coast of Pascacoula, Mississippi. So here goes! For a mess full of campers, you'll need:

1 gallon                 water
3/4 lb.                  onions
3/4 lb.                  diced celery
1 ea.                    large sweet red or green pepper, diced
1 lb.                    shrimp pieces
1/2 lb.                  fish filets (your choice), chopped up
15 ea.                   mussels without shells
8 oz.                    clam strips
1 lb.                    crab meat
1 tsp.                   ground thyme
1/2 tsp.                 cayenne pepper
3 TB.                    filé spice
1/2 tsp                  oregano
2 ea.                    bay leaves
1 TB                     chopped fresh garlic
1 lb.                    clam base
16 oz.                   tomato paste

Place all ingredients into a stock pot and let cook 3 hours, simmering on low. If the soup is a little too thin when it is done, tighten it up with a little corn starch. Real deer hunters drink a cold brew with this warming soup. And as always, a creative cook is a good cook.