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.
1I 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.)
2For 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.
3Stir in Onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, pepper and cayenne. Cook over med 3 mins.
4Add sausage. Cook another 3 mins.
5Stir in broth. Add half the okra, the chicken and bay leaves. Bring to boiling, reduce to simmer for 15 mins.
6Add 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.
7Add raw shrimp. Simmer 5 mins. (If using cooked shrimp, remove finished gumbo from heat. Stir cooked shrimp into gumbo to heat through.)
8Salt gumbo to taste. Ladle gumbo into soup bowls over hot cooked rice.