So you made the sofrito and you added it on some chicken, or pork chops or whatever but you are still wondering how else you can use it. How about arroz con gandules (rice and green pigeon peas)? What are pigeon peas? Here’s what they look like:
Fresh Pigeon peas.
I used canned ones and no worries if you can’t find canned or fresh pigeon peas. You can make this dish with a can of black bean, red kidney beans, pinto beans or chick peas different flavors but all equally delicious. But I highly encourage you to find gandules at a local international or Caribbean market if you can’t find it in the ethnic food aisle, it will be worth the effort.
So what is arroz con gandules you ask? It is a traditional Puerto Rican dish a staple at all special event dinners, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays what have you, but don’t wait for a special occasion it’s great anytime. It’s my favorite rice dish and here is my recipe. Mine is vegan friendly, a real traditional recipe has diced cooking ham or a little fat back in it for flavor, it’s delicious but, Hubby is a pescatarian (he eats fish but no chicken or red meat) so I don’t use pork. I’ll point out when to add it should you want to try it with the pork. With out further adieu ladies and gentlemen I give you arroz con gandules:
2 cups of long grain white rice (DO NOT use parboiled or even worse, instant that would be blasphemous)
one can of green pigeon peas (gandules)
Diced cooking ham just a few pieces for flavor (omit if you are vegetarian)
canola oil 2 tbsp
cooking spray so the rice doesn’t stick
2 heaping soup spoonfuls tomato sauce, I use Goya’s spanish style, but plain tomato sauce is fine,
pimento stuffed green olives to taste I used 2 soup spoonfuls ( I suppose this ingredient is optional, but I don’t really think so)
adobo to taste
salt and pepper to taste
one packet of sazon
water ( I used the empty gandules can about 1 and1/2 cans)
Nice dutch oven ( or the Caldero as we nuyoricans call)
I DO NOT use a nonstick pot because it just doesn’t come out the same for me so I highly recommend a good ole cast iron one or an enamel one is fine as well.
Spray the dutch oven with cooking spray then to a heated pot add the oil, tomato sauce, sofrito and the packet of sazon. careful it will sputter a little. combine the ingredients until it becomes very aromatic. be careful not to burn it. You can also add the ham at this point if you have some
oil, tomato sauce, sofrito, and sazon.
Once it is bubbling and gurgling away add the rice and coat the rice with the tomato sauce. sofrito mixture, coat well so the rice evenly gets an orange yellow color. have the first can of water and the peas ready.
Looks good already
To this add the one and a 1/2 can of water and the peas (or beans) and mix. The water should be just covering the rice.
the water will take on that beautiful orange color
Add the rest of the seasonings, adobo, salt and pepper and of course the olives all to taste. I recommend you tasting the water to see if it’s well seasoned, add less at first and adjust accordingly. You will see that I am using lite salt and light adobe with less sodium this is my personal preference (trying to watch my sodium intake.)
You have to watch the rice closely here you don’t want to have too much of the water absorbed to quickly, the rice will burn before it cooks thoroughly or you will have to add more water running the risk of mushy rice.
Bring it to a rolling boil until it looks like this. some of the should liquid be absorbed.
Now this is important for fluffy unsticky thoroughly cooked rice, cover the rice with foil and place the cover on top. reduce the heat to very low and let the rice simmer for 20 minutes.
see the foil peeking out
This what perfectly done Arroz con Gandules looks like in the pot. all the water absorbed and nice and fluffy and not sticky.
Serve and enjoy. You can serve it with some of those sofrito chicken thighs, or pork chops and an avocado and tomato salad simply dressed with oil and vinegar , salt and pepper. I just had the avocado and tomato salad with mine today. Here is perfect Arroz con Gandules on the plate:
Dinner is served.
So that’s it Arroz con Gandules! Try it and let me know how you like it! I’m outtie, going back for more.