Chicken Gumbo Soup

Ingredients:

1/4 tsp. thyme

1 bay leaf

4 cloves

1 tsp. tomato paste

1/8 tsp. cayenne

3 lbs. fresh okra or 6 pkgs. frozen okra, sliced crosswise

3 Tblsps. oil

1-1/2 cups chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup diced ham

1 - 1lb. can stewed tomatoes

2 Tblsps. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. dried basil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Tabasco Sauce to taste

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 lb. cooked shrimp or crab or chicken

Preparation:

In a large kettle or Dutch oven, combine stock, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, tomato paste and cayenne.   Bring to boil, then simmer. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat oil and saute sliced okra slowly for 30 mins.  Add chopped onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic and saute for another 20 mins.  Stir in diced ham and continue cooking for 5 mins.  Then add stewed tomatoes, sugar and basil. Simmer partially covered, very slowly for 1 hour.  Season with salt and pepper, Tasasco and the Worchestershire Sauce.  Add shrimp, crab or chicken and re-heat.  Serve in shallow bowls accompanied by hot rice.