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The Neely's dirty rice recipe works for an at-home Mardi Gras dinner

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The Mardi Gras parades have already begun in the Big Easy, according to the Mardi Gras New Orleans website.

Also called ‘Fat Tuesday,’ Mardi Gras is synonymous with the culinary excesses that precede Ash Wednesday, the first day of the forty day-long Christian season of Lent.

Lent is all about penance. Observers traditionally ‘give up’ a favorite food, like a desert or another sweet, or, at the very least, try to eat less of something truly loved.

But Fat Tuesday is all about eating. Those who can’t get to New Orleans to take part in the festivities can celebrate Mardi Gras right in their own homes. Patrick and Gina Neely’s recipe for Dirty Rice and Smoked Sausage, which is posted on the Food Network’s website, is bound to get everyone in the mood for a pre-Lenten party. The dish takes 40 minutes total time to prepare and cook and serves 6-8 people.

Ingredients:

2 cups long grain white rice
5 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound smoked pork sausage, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Make the rice. In a medium saucepan combine the rice and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until all the stock is absorbed into the rice, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile heat oil in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage. Once browned, add the garlic, onion, celery, and green bell pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup chicken stock and cayenne. Cook until the stock has reduced a little. Add the cooked rice and parsley and stir thoroughly. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

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