Okra not only adds flavor, but as it cooks it helps to thicken the gumbo sauce. It's a popular vegetable throughout the South and is a signature ingredient for gumbos. In fact, the name gumbo is a derivation of the African word for "okra." This vegetable was brought to the South from Africa.
Some gumbos are made with a variety of meats instead of just sausage. Cut 1/2 pound of skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, beef round steak or ham into 1/2-inch pieces, and add with 1/2 pound of sliced sausage. Or use a little of each to equal a pound of meat.
Adding greens to your gumbo is a symbol for good luck. Place about 4 cups of fresh spinach on top of the cooked gumbo. Cover the cooker and let it stand about 10 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Stir the spinach into the gumbo before serving.