Serving suggestions: steamed rice, soda crackers such as Saltines and Louisiana hot sauce.
Start by making the roux. In a heavy bottomed pan, preferably a cast-iron skillet, melt the bacon fat and stir in the flour. It's important to keep stirring this until it turns a deep dark brown. Usually about 30 minutes. Also remember once it is brown to remove it from the burner and it will continue to cook as the pan is still really hot.
For the gumbo: Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the celery, onions and green and red bell peppers. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Cut the hot links in 1/4-inch half-moons and add to the pot. Add the water, clam base, chili powder, thyme, oregano, garlic, paprika, cayenne, chicken base, hot sauce and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
Take 1 cup of the liquid and stir it into the still hot roux; it will expand to double the size. Add this to the gumbo and stir it in well bring it back to a boil. Once it has thickened, turn off the heat and stir in the okra and gumbo file. (At this point you have a nice base that you can add your choice of proteins to, anything from crawfish, shrimp, crab, chicken or a combination.)
Serve in a bowl with steamed rice, soda crackers and Louisiana hot sauce.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.