In case you haven’t looked at the calendar recently, it appears that Mardi Gras is once again upon us. 

Perhaps you’ve never given it much of a thought, but having spent 4ish years of my young adult times down in NOLA, it was a date very much of note in everyone’s mind, and it was preceded by two weeks of hoopla and parades and hullabaloo.  It was, in truth, exhausting.

Still, I love a reason to throw a good theme party and Mardi Gras is just such an occasion. Amiright? 

Back in Chicago, my coworkers and I did indeed love a good theme party, and we seized any occasion to throw a potluck.  We got way into potlucks.  Once a quarter, more than one person would schlep a slow cooker on the CTA or spend a late night rolling tamales to create a lunchtime spread that would be the envy of many an office.  It was always a lot of fun, and always something of which we were all pretty proud.

A few years ago, Sarsaparilla filled her slow cooker with some delicious jambalaya for Mardi Gras, and I convinced her to share her recipe and today, I share it with you.  I made a few tweaks ever so slight, but its essence remains hers.

To see our sign up sheet, and throw your own Mardi Gras office potluck, check it out here.

Along with so many other memories gathered over the course of seven years, this recipe, I will also carry with me forever.

Serves 8
Traditional New Orleans' shrimp jambalaya
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  1. 2 TB olive oil
  2. 1 large white onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  3. 5 green onions, chopped
  4. 5 stalks celery, chopped
  5. 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  6. 2 jalapeños chili pepper, finely chopped with seeds (depending on the amount of heat you want)
  7. 2 TB creole seasoning
  8. 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  9. 3 tsp of dried thyme
  10. 1 lb andouille sausages, sliced into 1/2 inch slices, then cut into quartered wedges
  11. 1 pound shrimp, shells removed
  12. 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken stock
  13. 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  14. 2 cups long-grain rice
  15. 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  16. Lemon, to serve
  1. Add the olive oil to a large pot (I used a Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, celery, garlic, Creole Seasoning, cayenne pepper and thyme. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add a bit more Creole Seasoning, black pepper, salt to taste. Add the sausage, stock, tomatoes and rice to the vegetables in the pot.
  2. Bring mixture to simmer. Reduce heat to low, half-cover and cook until rice is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Just before the rice is done, add the shrimp, mix it into the rice and cover the pot about 10 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through and all the liquid is absorbed. Add in the parsley and serve with lemon.
  1. Don't like shrimp? Use 2 large chicken breasts.
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

Written after the packing.

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