1) In a large heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt 250g of the butter. Add the flour, and cook on low geat until the roux is dark brown; about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring constantly.
Cook's Note: Brown does not mean burnt; if you burn the roux you have to throw it out and start over again.
2) Add the onions, celery, peppers and garlic and saute until translucent.
3) Mix in the okra and the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, and simmer over medium-low heat until thick, about 1 hour. Before serving, remove the bay leaves. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve over white rice, if desired.