In a large saute pan or pot, bring heat to medium-high spray lightly with nonstick spray. Season chicken thighs with a little Tony’s and add right to the pan. Let cook undisturbed for 8 minutes.
Flip and then immediately add in the bag of frozen veggies. Cover completely, lower fire to medium-low and let cook for 20 minutes. Don't even touch it!
In a large cast iron pot or stock pot, add 9 cups of water and put fire on high. In the remaining 1 cup of water, whisk in the dry roux until fully incorporated and then add this mixture to the rest of the water, whisking until no lumps remain.
Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce to simmer as you add in the Better Than Bouillon, Tony’s seasoning, and garlic powder. Let simmer with the lid cracked until the 20 minutes are up from the chicken and veggies.
Add the chicken and veggies directly to the pot with the water and stir, do not shred the chicken yet.
In the same saute pan or pot used for the chicken, add the smoked sausage and let brown for 10 minutes total (medium-high heat), flipping every 4-5 minutes. Let sausage rest on a paper towel lined plate, and blot of any remaining grease if desired (I do).
Add the sausage to the gumbo and at the same time add the file powder, bay leaves, and frozen okra. Don't stress if it doesn't seem thick enough, the file powder and okra will help to thicken.
Stir gently and let simmer for another 20 minutes. Lid cracked.
Remove chicken and shred, it should just fall apart!
Add back to the gumbo and now it’s up to you! You can simmer for another 15-20 minutes (preferred) or you can simmer this thing for another hour.
In these last 20 minutes, prepare your steamed rice!!
Enjoy your gumbo and be PROUD of yourself!! You just made a homemade gumbo!! Look at you!