Originally Posted by cpw
I'm a huge fan of the gumbo, but here's my problem, just as Landarc mentioned, the roux in a gumbo is not about thickening the stew, but more as a flavor component. So the question is, how do you make a flavorful roux, but also makes a thick stew? Do you throw in some corn starch? I find that the okra doesn't thicken it enough for my tastes.
The okra and/or file are used as thickening agents. I use okra, but not file. That is just my personal preference. You could use corn starch, as it really doesn't have a flavor that would mess up your gumbo. Keep in mind, you are not really going for a "beef stew" thickness. Gumbo is closer to soup than stew.
BTW, landarc, good fresh okra is hard to find around me, but I have had good results with frozen okra. I doubt even a pure cajun would know I used frozen okra.
You should also make some tasso for your next gumbo. It is really easy to make, and I think it adds a great dimension to the flavor, especially in a seafood gumbo.