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Arroz con Gandules Recipe

Arroz con Gandules Recipe

If you are looking for an Arroz con Gandules recipe then it would be better to know that it is a popular Puerto Rican preparation of yellow rice, pigeon pea, and meat bits, prepared with 'sofrito', capers, and olives filled with red peppers called 'alcaparrado'.
Ankana Dey Choudhury
Arroz con Gandules―a meal staple for every Puerto Rican special occasion and quite rightly so, given that it is the national dish of the country, along with pernil or authentic Puerto Rican roasted pig, of course. A Christmas dinner at the smallest and easternmost island of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean is incomplete without steaming Arroz con Gandules on the table. This yellow rice, cooked with pigeon peas and meat bits of bacon, chorizo, smoked ham, pork, or turkey, is usually made in annatto seed infused olive oil, sofrito, and broth, and spiced with bay leaves, cumin, alcaparrado (capers and olives filled with red peppers), orégano brujo, followed by some thorough seasoning with salt and black pepper.

Basically, to go about making Arroz con Gandules, one has to begin with making sofrito.

To make this red aromatic concoction you need,
  • Cubanelles, 6 (seeded and chopped)
  • Ají dulce, 7
  • Tomatoes, 2 (medium, cubed)
  • Yellow onions, 2 (small, chopped)
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch
  • Culantro or recao leaves, 5
  • Green capsicum, 1 (cored, seeded and cubed)
  • Red capsicum, 1 (cored, seeded and cubed)
  • Garlic head, 1 (small, peeled)
  • Kosher salt, 2 tsp.
  • Pepper, 2 tsp.
In a mixer, process the ají dulce, cubanelles, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, culantro, capsicums, garlic, salt, and pepper until you have a salsa-like dip with loads of chunks in it.

Authentic Arroz Con Gandules
For this recipe, you will need,
  • Short grain rice, 2 cups
  • Pigeon peas or gandules, 15 oz. (drained, washed, and dried)
  • Tomato sauce, 8 oz.
  • Alcaparrado, ¼ cup (pimiento-stuffed olives will also do)
  • Sazón with culantro and annatto, 1 packet
  • Water, 4 cups
  • Sofrito, ½ cup
  • Bay leaves, 2
  • Vegetable oil or achiote oil, 3 tbsp.
  • Salt, 1 tsp.
  • Cumin powder, ½ tsp.
  • Pepper, to taste
In a heavy 5-quart pot, heat the oil on a medium flame, and throw in the bay leaves, tomatoes, alcaparrado, sazón, and cumin powder, and pour in the sofrito and tomato sauce. Sauté for 5 minutes and then add the rice, mix in well, and let it cook just for a minute. Add the water or chicken broth after that, along with the pigeon peas, salt, and pepper. Stir, and then turn the stove knob to high. Cover the pot with a banana or plantain leaf, and place the lid of the pot on top of it. Allow a steady boil to set in for 10 minutes or so, and then once all the fluid has dissipated, use a ladle to mix the whole thing 3 to 4 times. If the rice sticks to the bottom of the pan, then turn the flame to low, cover with plantain leaf, and then the lid and let it all simmer for another 25 minutes.

The above rice recipe is a vegetarian version, but you can add 1½ pounds of smoked turkey wings, pork, or ham to this just before adding the rice, if you like meat. You can add an extra tablespoon of annotte seeds if you like. There are 237 calories present in each serving, but there is absolutely no cholesterol at all. Buen provecho!