In the course of making a crockpot jambalaya, I wondered if I should add file powder. I searched gumbo file and jambalaya and found the basic definitions and several recipe sites. Both dishes are classified as cajun or creole recipes within Southern US and Caribbean recipe classifications.
Gumbo is a cajun stew usually made with okra. A gumbo made with powdered sassafras (file powder) is a gumbo file. Jambalaya is a cajun rice dish, with the rice cooked in a soup or stew. It seems to have a lot in common with Brazilian, Spanish and Portgese paella dishes. The traditional jambalaya was cooked with smoked ham, although there are many permutations of the tradition. In Winnipeg, I have encountered jambalaya more as a seafood dish. Both recipe families use various combinations of meat and seafood, tomatoes, onions, celery, chopped fresh parsley, garlic, peppers. The spices tend to include thyme, oregano, cayenne. There is a spice mix called Cajun spice which includes cayenne, black pepper, oregano and thyme. There are commercial mixes, and recipes for it.
In looking for cajun recipes on the Web, I noticed that some sites have a lot of popups and adware, and are best viewed with Firebox with Adblocker. Diana Rattray’s cooking pages at about.com are like that. Her Southern Food page is good and the gumbo and jambalaya pages bring up lots of recipes. She has several recipes for the slow cooker or crockpot. The Recipe Source site is good. There is a site called the Gumbo Pages which has recipes for gumbos and jambalayas. This site maintains that gumbo and jambalaya are two of the four main cajun specialties.