This gumbo is easy to make, and delicious over rice. The key to the special flavor of a good gumbo is the roux (cooked oil and flour thickening base.) This has been the #1 Birthday dinner requested by my kids over the years. I don't make it very spicy so one son adds hot sauce to it. This is a pretty big pot of Gumbo. It's better the next day, but you can cut it in half if you don't want leftovers.
I recommend having all your ingredients out and pre-chopped. Makes it very quick and easy to get through the preparations steps. ( In this photo I made a 1.5 batch-serves 18. Don't let the large amounts scare you.)
For roux: Start with a large soup pot. Combine flour and oil with wooden spoon til smooth. Adjust amounts of flour/oil for texture. Stir constantly over med heat until roux cooks to color of a penny. Smells like popcorn. 15 mins or so.
Stir in Onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, pepper and cayenne. Cook over med 3 mins.
Add sausage. Cook another 3 mins.
Stir in broth. Add half the okra, the chicken and bay leaves. Bring to boiling, reduce to simmer for 15 mins.
Add remainder of okra. (The first half was a thickener and the second half gives more chunky texture.) Simmer for 10-15 mins til last okra is crisp-tender.
Add raw shrimp. Simmer 5 mins. (If using cooked shrimp, remove finished gumbo from heat. Stir cooked shrimp into gumbo to heat through.)
Salt gumbo to taste. Ladle gumbo into soup bowls over hot cooked rice.