Clean and cut up the chicken. Cut the ham into small squares or dice and chop the onions, parsley and thyme. Skin the tomatoes, and chop fine, saving the juice. Wash and stem the Okra and slice into thin layers of one-half inch each. Put the lard or butter into the soup kettle, and when hot add the chicken and the ham. Cover closely and let it simmer for about ten minutes. Then add the chopped onions, parsley, thyme and tomatoes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Then add the Okra, and, when well browned, add the juice of the tomatoes, which imparts a superior flavor. The Okra is very delicate and is liable to scorch quickly if not stirred frequently. For this reason many Creole cooks fry the Okra separately in a frying pan, seasoning with the pepper, Cayenne and salt, and then add to the chicken. But equally good results may be obtained with less trouble by simply adding the Okra to the frying chicken, and watching constantly to prevent scorching. The least taste of “scorch” spoils the flavor of the Gumbo. When well fried and browned, add to the boiling water (about three quarts) and set on the back of the stove, letting it simmer gently for about an hour longer. Serve hot, with nicely Boiled Rice. The remains of turkey may be utilized in the Gumbo, instead of using chicken.
In families where it is not possible to procure a fowl, use a round steak of beef or veal, instead of the chicken, and chop fine. But it must always be borne in mind that the Chicken Gumbo has the best flavor. Much, however, depends upon the seasoning, which is always high. Thus cooked, the Meat Gumbo makes a most nutritious and excellent dish.