New Year’s Paella

In some cultures, there are foods that are traditional for New Year’s.  Cajuns like their Jambalaya, for example.  Hoppin’ John for Southerners.  Shrimp for East Coasters.  I’ve tried a lot of things, but I think I’ve found my new favorite.  I have always felt that you should eat an abundance on New Year’s.  It is the day that sets the tone for the rest of the year.  Eating in abundance will guarantee my family won’t go hungry in the coming year.  Or something.  Or maybe I just like eating!

Anyway, I adapted a Paella recipe I found online, giving it the Momilies touch, and boy, was it good. This recipe is adaptable, and can be spiced or not, as you like.  This is a Cuban dish, so spicy is actually not what you want, although you do want it to have flavor and a little zing.  My recommendations for more spice, if you want it, is to use chorizo instead of smoked sausage, and add more red pepper flakes to the rice.  A dash of hot sauce on the completed dish can help too.  We like ours mild, so I stuck with the amounts listed below.

You will need two large skillets, one needs a tight-fitting lid.  A paella pan is fine if you have one, but most of us don’t.

I hope you’ll feel inclined to try the recipe, and then leave me a comment or two about how you liked it!

New Year’s Paella (feeds 5-6)


2 chicken thighs, deboned (I buy boneless because I’m lazy)

2 thick-cut but small pork chops, boned (I buy boneless because, lazy)

1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (I buy it already peeled and deveined…)

1/2 package of polksa kielbasa, sliced (use all beef)

1/2 Spanish or sweet yellow or white onion, diced

1 red sweet pepper, diced

1 T. paprika (smoked is great if you have it)

2 t. oregano

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 c. rice (short-grained works best, but use what you have)

1 bay leaf

zest of one lemon

1 can/bottle beer (any kind, lager is best)



olive oil

red pepper flakes

salt and pepper


Chop vegetables and set aside separately (they will be used at different times in the recipe).  Chop the sausage and set aside.  If using Chorizo, remove skin and crumble for cooking later.  Rinse the shrimp and set aside.  Chop the chicken and pork into chunks no bigger than 1″, and place into a large metal or glass bowl.  The smaller they are, the faster they will cook.  Toss the chicken and pork with the paprika, oregano, and about 2 T. olive oil.  Set aside.

In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 T. olive oil on high heat.  Add in the garlic and rice, and toast (stirring often) for about 3 minutes.  Add in the bay leaf, beer, a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, a few saffron threads, and about 1/2 cup water.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and put the lid on.  Cook for about 20 minutes, or until rice is done but not mushy.

When rice is about halfway done, heat 1 T. olive oil in a large skillet.  Add in the chicken/pork mixture, onions, and salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes or until meat is almost done.  Add in the sausage and sweet pepper and cook another 5 minutes.

Remove the rice from the heat when it is done, and sprinkle on the parsley and lemon zest.  Keep it covered to  maintain the heat.

Check the chicken and pork to see that they are done.  Do NOT overcook or your meat will be tough.  Toss in the shrimp and cook for 1-2 minutes or until they turn pink.  Again, do NOT overcook!

Traditionally, this is served on a big platter.  The rice is spread on the platter, and the meat mixutre put on top.  We serve it separately, putting rice on our plates, then the meat mixture on top.  Do what you like.  You can also squeeze a wedge of lemon over the top of it all for a bit more zing.


Download a PDF version of this recipe here!

One Response to “New Year’s Paella”

  1. jillybear says on :

    Sounds yummy! It’s very close to a Jambalaya recipe I got from my sister in law who is from Louisiana. It used a rue and more veggies but pretty close.