6 links of sausage (Louisiana hot links or Italian)
4 links Andouille Sausage
1 1/2 cup of medium shrimp de-veined
3 quarts water
6 cubes beef bouillon
1 tablespoon white sugar
lightly add salt to taste
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco(R)), or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend (such as Tony Chancre's(R)), or to taste
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed or diced tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons gumbo file powder
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen cut okra, thawed
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 pound lump crab-meat
3 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons gumbo file powder
In a large pot with 12 cups of water bring to a boil and cook for 1 hour 6 pieces of chicken thighs and 6 links of Louisiana hot links or other sausage (Italian works as well). Add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1 tsp of Cajun (Tony's chancre's) seasoning and six cloves of garlic to the mix. Bring to a boil for 1 hour and then simmer for an 30 minutes.
If you have the time then make a roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking. Optional-Short on Time: Use a Creole Cajun gumbo base like Louisiana Fish Fry Products or Zatarains without the rice. Prepare according to directions on the package. Still add the bacon grease for flavor. For Vegan or seafood only variation use only water. For meat lovers substitute 48 ounces of beef or chicken broth.
Place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux (gumbo base), and mix in the sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Bring the water and beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Note if you use the gumbo base just add the beef bouillon cubes. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes; remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crab-meat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes.
For best results do not eat until 24 hours later. This will seal and blend in the flavors by placing the gumbo in the refrigerator overnight at least 24 hours. Warning: When reheating the next day do not cook in the same pot because the residue roux will stick to the bottom of the pan causing it to burn. Don't burn your efforts away and ruin the fabulous taste that has taken hours to make. Transfer the gumbo to a non-stick dutch oven pan before reheating.
Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of file gumbo powder.