1 thin slice country ham
4 cups okra, sliced thin or 1 bag frozen
2 cups chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 teaspoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound andouille or kielbasa sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
4 cups water
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cut ham into small pieces. Saute lightly in a skillet. Add okra and brown lightly, stirring constantly. Add onions, garlic, parsley, tomato sauce and tomatoes. Let simmer for a few minutes. Add shrimp, water, seafood seasoning, sausage, red pepper, salt and pepper. Let cook for 1 hour over very low heat.
Serve over cooked rice.
To Freeze: Prepare recipe according to instructions above, omitting the okra and shrimp. Cool completely in the refrigerator. Spoon into a gallon-sized ziploc bag, being careful to press as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing, and lay flat on a cookie sheet to freeze.
Frozen Preparation: Defrost gumbo in the refrigerator. Empty into dutch oven or large saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until hot. Meanwhile, thaw one bag frozen okra. Brown okra lightly in a skillet (okra will not get "brown" in the traditional sense; you are simply cooking it lightly). Add okra to gumbo. Thaw one 2-pound bag frozen raw shrimp (it is very important to get "raw" shrimp and not "cooked" shrimp); peel and devein. Add shrimp to gumbo. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until shrimp is cooked. Serve over hot cooked rice.