31 December 2021

New Year's Eve and Day food plans

Happy New Year's Eve to all. For our New Year's Eve celebration, we've decided to make a big pan of paella, the Spanish rice, chicken, and seafood dish. Instead of chicken, we'll have salmon with ours, along with mussels, cockles, shrimp, and a Portuguese chorizo sausage. The vegetables are onions, tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, artichoke hearts, and chickpeas. This is my own recipe.

Below are some photos showing mostly paellas I've made in past years, plus two photos of huge pans of paella that are often on display in French outdoor markets. The market paella is sold by the portion in plastic containers as carry-out food. The first photo at the top is one I took at a market in Paris, and the last on at the bottom is one I took at the Sunday market in Amboise. (I've put a recipe in the comments — in French and then in English.)



Tomorrow, on New Year's Day, I'll be cooking a pot of black-eyed peas — traditional January 1 fare in the U.S. South. We're going to be having the black-eyed peas with poached saucisses de Toulouse (plain pork sausage) and with cuisses de canard confites — duck leg-and-thigh pieces that have been slow-cooked in duck fat. All you have to do is put the duck pieces on a rack in the oven and heat them up until they are golden brown. I'll probably take pictures of both today's paella and tomorrow's sort of "mock cassoulet" made with black-eyes. Stay tuned.

We won't be having guests for either meal. The current Covid Omicron surge means we are still self-isolating as much as possible. In urban areas, people are required to wear masks indoors and outdoors. Shopping is a necessity, but gatherings of people indoors are strongly discouraged by the authorities here in France. We haven't yet had our Covid booster vaccinations, but mine is scheduled for next Thursday morning. We'll be getting the Moderna vaccine for our third dose. Walt expects a call from the pharmacy any day now to get his appointment set up. I'm already hearing about some people here getting a fourth dose of the vaccine...


  1. Paella valenciana

    1 poulet (1,5 kg environ)
    400 g de palourdes
    12 grosses crevettes décortiquées
    500 g de riz
    250 g de lardons
    2 petits poivrons rouges
    3 grosses tomates
    1 oignon
    5 gousses d'ail
    1 feuille de laurier
    piment doux en poudre
    2 doses de safran
    1 l de bouillon de volaille
    1 citron
    8 c. à soupe d'huile d'olive
    sel, poivre

    Préchauffez le four à 240°C.

    Lavez les poivrons, ouvrez-les et épépinez-les. Passez-les 10 à 15 min au four, jusqu'à ce que la peau soit brune et se boursoufle. Ôtez la peau et détaillez la chair en lanières. Réglez le four à 180°C.

    Ebouillantez les tomates 1 minute, rafraîchissez-les et pelez-les. Ouvrez-les en deux, ôtez la base du pédoncule et les pépins. Détaillez les moitiés de tomates en morceaux de 2 cm. Pelez l'oignon et l'ail, hachez-les menu.

    Découpez le poulet en morceaux et le lard en dés de 3 cm de côté. Faites revenir le tout dans une large poêle avec 6 c. à soupe d'huile d'olive. Ajoutez ensuite l'oignon et l'ail, faites sauter pendant 2 minutes. Assaisonnez.

    Incorporez les tomates et les poivrons, faites revenir quelque temps, puis ajoutez les aromates et le riz. Versez le bouillon. Laissez cuire 25 minutes à feu doux sans remuer. Lavez les palourdes dans plusieurs eaux.

    Faites revenir les palourdes dans le reste d'huile jusqu'à ce que les coquilles s'ouvrent. Ajoutez les palourdes et les crevettes au riz, laissez cuire 5 minutes à feu doux. Garnissez de quartiers de citron et servez chaud.

  2. Valencia Paella

    1 chicken (approximately 3 lbs.)
    10 or 12 small clams
    12 large shrimp, peeled
    1 lb. of rice
    8 to 10 oz. of bacon or ham
    2 small red bell peppers
    3 large tomatoes
    1 onion
    5 cloves of garlic
    1 bay leaf
    paprika to taste
    2 doses of saffron (or 2 tsp. of turmeric)
    4 cups (1 liter) of chicken stock
    1 lemon
    8 tbsp. tablespoon olive oil
    salt pepper

    Preheat the oven to 240°C./425°F.

    Wash the peppers, cut them open and removed the seeds and white pulp. Bake them for 10 to 15 minutes in the oven, until the skin is brown and blistered. Remove the skin and cut the flesh into strips. Set the oven to 180°C/350°F.

    Drop the tomatoes, whole, into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Let them cool cown and slip off the skins. Open them in half, remove the stem part and remove the seeds. Chop the tomato flesh finely. Peel the onion and garlic and chop them finely as well.

    Cut the chicken into pieces and chop the bacon or ham coarsely. Brown everything in a large pan with 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add the onion and garlic, sauté for 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

    Stir in the tomatoes and peppers, sauté the mixture for a couple of minutes, and then add the herbs and rice. Pour in the broth. Leave to cook for 25 minutes over low heat without stirring. Wash the clams well to remove any sand.

    Sauté the clams in the remaining oil until their shells open. Add the clams and shrimp to the rice, cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve hot.

  3. I have a very good recollection of a paella in Valencia.

    1. I'm sure you're going to say that my version is not authentic. Tant pis.

    2. Here is what Wikipedia says :
      “Valencians insist that only the original two Valencia recipes are authentic, and generally view all others as inferior, not genuine or even grotesque.”

    3. Aren't they silly... there are chauvinists everywhere, I guess. Do you know the recipe for traditional Valencia paella?

    4. Oh, and when did Wikipedia become your reference of choice? LOL

  4. Happy celebrations!
    I feel like I spy a little bit of okra in one of your pots... am I wrong? ;)

    1. I've looked but I don't see any okra. The green vegetable in couple of the photos is zucchini.

  5. Happy New Years Eve to you, Ken! These are very delicious looking photos.

  6. Yep, black eyed peas we had them every year for good luck. Corn bread was standard New Year's fare too. The paella looks amazing. I had my booster already & I suspect they are going to start suggesting fourth doses in CA as well. Happy New Year to all!


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