Arroz Con Gandules (rice with pigeon peas) is Puerto Rico’s national dish. It is a combination of rice, pigeon peas, and pork and has become very popular throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Arroz con gandules can contain any type of meat – even NO meat for the vegetarians out there! Some examples of types of meat you could use are pork, ham, turkey, bacon or chorizo.
There are many great Arroz con Gandules recipes out there and here is one of them compliments of LaGasse. Check out the recipe below, or better yet, watch the video below the recipe to see how it’s done! Now you can cook the national dish of Puerto Rico right in your very home!
1 ounce of achiote oil
1/4 cup of chopped onion
3 ounces of sofrito
2 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of fresh gandules (pigeon peas), or
1 (15 ounce) can of gandules
4 ounces of tomato sauce
2 cups of white rice
14 – 16 manzanilla olives
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of black pepper
pinch of oregano
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 ounce of salted fatback (tocino)
1. On medium flame, bring the the achiote oil and the salted fatback to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan. Since the fatback is optional, if you are not using it, simply heat the oil and proceed to step 3.
2. Simmer the fatback for 2 -3 minutes until you see it getting golden colored.
3. Add the chopped onion, and simmer approximately 1 – 2 minutes, until onion is translucent.
4. Add the sofrito.
5. Simmer until the sofrito starts to thicken – this could take up to 3 to 10 minutes, depending upon the heat of the stove, and whether your sofrito is at room temperature, or still slightly frozen. Notice the simmering action in the video, and adjust your heat accordingly.
6. Add the rest of the ingredients, starting with the water.
7. Let everything come up to a simmer. You may increase the heat to Medium-HI.
8. Once simmering, stir once, while scraping the rice on the bottom of the pot (to prevent sticking).
9. Allow the liquid in the pot to evaporate- notice the section in the video that shows the difference between almost ready, and actually ready!
10. Lower the flame to LOW. Cover, and let simmer approximately 20 minutes.
11. After 20 minutes, uncover the pot by quickly flipping the lid- this will catch the water that’s under the lid, instead of it falling back into the rice. Discard the water.
12. Carefully stir the rice as follows: with a large serving spoon, take a spoon of rice from the furthest side of the pot, and scoop it into the middle. Turn the pot a little, and repeat. Do this until you’ve turned the pot once completely around (about 4 or 5 times).
This process is called ‘moviendo el arroz‘ in Spanish – literally meaning ‘moving the rice’.
13. Cover and simmer another 20 minutes on Low heat.
14. After 20 minutes, again uncover the pot carefully, and take some rice out with a spoon. Taste the rice:
a) If it’s still a little hard, cover and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes. Then test it again.
b) If it’s a little sticky, cook uncovered for another 5 – 10 minutes. Then test it again.
15. Remove from heat, and serve.