Illustration for article titled How to turn the Popeyes chicken sandwich into a Fat Tuesday feast
Graphic: Karl Gustafson

Tuesday is unequivocally the least festive day of the week. Wednesday is hump day, Thursday is Friday Eve, and on Friday, bras and uncomfortable shoes become optional the moment you clock out. Saturdays and Sundays are always festive, because even if you choose to spend them responsibly by running errands, you at least know you have the option of blowing everything off to get loaded on mimosas. Mondays I get to celebrate the kids going back to school and seeing my coworkers, who are often the only source of intelligent adult conversation in my life. But Tuesdays? Tuesdays have nothing. There’s Taco Tuesday, but we all know we’re allowed to eat tacos whenever we damn well please. I resent Taco Tuesday for trying to limit taco consumption to a particular day of the week. Don’t tell me how to live my life.

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There is only one Tuesday on the calendar that’s consistently worth a damn, and that is Mardi Gras. Of course, it’s not a holiday that we can all take to the streets and celebrate in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon. The closest that I’m getting to New Orleans is by going to Popeyes, and though their commercials have tried to convince me otherwise, there is nothing festive about the crowd at my local Popeyes. Fortunately for them, I have the strength and determination be be festive enough for everybody:

Illustration for article titled How to turn the Popeyes chicken sandwich into a Fat Tuesday feast
Photo: Toby Robicelli (Age 11)
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A special event like Mardi Gras demands a special menu, and while there’s plenty that’s special about the chicken sandwich, it’s not festive enough to create the kind of escapism we all desperately need on a wet, wintry Tuesday. We need to feel like we’re down on the bayou, where it’s so darn hot that we keep whipping our shirts off like it’s Bra-Free Fridays. And nothing says laissez les bons temps rouler quite like surf and turf. Chicken sandwich mania might have overshadowed the fact that Popeyes also happens to serve a damn fine popcorn shrimp, which tastes even better when it’s smothered...a la shrimp étouffée. So why not elevate your sandwich a bit and create a meal fit for Mardi Gras?

Don’t let yourself be bothered by the dozens of people who can’t help but stare at your purse full of sauce—they’re just jealous of your party for one. Sometimes it can be hard to process all that festiveness on a Tuesday.


Illustration for article titled How to turn the Popeyes chicken sandwich into a Fat Tuesday feast
Photo: Allison Robicelli
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Extra Festive Mardi Gras Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

Makes enough sauce for 2 sandwiches

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small rib celery, chopped
  • 1/2 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 1/4 cup Crystal hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the butter and flour together, stirring constantly, until it becomes a roux that’s the color of a light caramel, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, celery, and green pepper and continue to cook until the roux is dark brown, then add the garlic and tomato paste and continue to cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the clam juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper; bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.

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Pour the sauce into a plastic quart container, then use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Put the lid onto the container and drive straight to Popeyes.

Order a chicken sandwich (whether you get it with classic or spicy mayo is up to you) and a small popcorn shrimp. Use a spork to toss the shrimp with enough sauce to coat, then pile evenly on top of the chicken sandwich and eat immediately.

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Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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