Arroz con Gandules is a combination of rice, pigeon peas, and pork, cooked in the same pot with sofrito. This Puerto Rican recipe, accompanied with roasted pork, is the national dish of Puerto Rico.
Often served during the Christmas season or for special occasions, Arroz con Gandules is tasty all year long. Salt pork, ham, smoked ham hocks, bacon, salchichón (salami), or chorizo is sometimes added alone or in combination with each other.
Note: you can make this dish without the meat for a vegetarian version.
Arroz con Gandules
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ⅓ cup country ham or bacon diced (optional)
- ⅓ cup sofrito homemade is best!
- 3 cups water or low sodium chicken broth
- 1 packet sazón con achiote y cilantro
- 1 cube chicken bouillon or more if needed
- 2 tbsp tomato paste or 1/3 cup tomato sauce
- ¼ tsp marjoram
- ¼ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp rosemary
- ¼ tsp thyme
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped optional
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp pimento stuffed olives optional
- 15 oz can Pigeon Peas/Gandules drained and rinsed
- 2 cups parboiled rice
- Heat your caldero or Dutch oven to medium heat, and add your olive oil, bacon/ham (if using) and sofrito. Stir constantly until fragrant and tender, but not browned, about 4 minutes.
- Next add in the Sazon, tomato sauce or paste and chicken bouillon. Stir to combine.
- Add in the drained pigeon peas, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme, bay leaves, and water/broth.
- Add the cilantro and/or olives, if using.
- Allow the liquid to come up to a boil, and taste it for salt. If it needs more saltiness, add in another chicken bouillon cube. You want this liquid to be highly seasoned, as it will determine the final seasoning of the rice.
- Once the mixture is boiling, add the rice. Stir the rice to get it submerged and distribute the pigeon peas throughout.
- Cover and allow the rice to absorb all the visible liquid. Once most of the visible surface liquid is absorbed, stir the rice, and cover again.
- Lower the flame to low, and allow it to steam for 20-25 minutes. It’s done with all the liquid is absorbed and the grains are fluffy and fully cooked.
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