Cook chicken in water with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper until tender. Remove meat from bone in slivers. Save stock. You may also use a leftover turkey, ham or duck carcass in place of chicken. In a large pot, saute sausage. Remove sausage from pot and saute okra, bell pepper, garlic, onion, bay leaves, basil and thyme in sausage drippings. Stir frequently to prevent burning or sticking. When tender, add tomatoes that have been pureed in blender or finely chopped. Let this simmer 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken and stock. Let gumbo mixture simmer.
The roux is made in a small pan, preferably cast iron. Heat fat or oil over medium heat until it is just about to smoke. Add flour, stirring constantly. It should take 3 to 5 minutes to turn dark brown. Be careful not to burn. When roux is done, remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Slowly add 1 cup of hot stock, stirring so it won't lump. Add this to gumbo. You may also add shrimp, gumbo crabs, crab claws or crabmeat and oysters. Season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper. Simmer 2 to 3 hours. Serve over rice.
NOTE: If okra is not used in gumbo, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of file in each bowl after gumbo has been served.