SERVES: 10 | PREP TIME:
Place a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the lard, bacon drippings, or butter followed by the sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the pot and transfer to a plate. Set aside. Stir the flour into the fat and cook, stirring frequently, until the the flour becomes deep brown in color, but not burnt.
Add the celery, onion, leek, onion, carrot, parsnip, garlic, Cajun seasoning, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot along with the flour mixture and cook, stirring frequently for 4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato sauce, bay leaves, beef broth, okra, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables become tender, about 20 minutes. Serve with steamed rice, if desired, sprinkle with fresh parsley, then serve.