This Arroz con Gandules recipe may be my new favorite rice dish! Tender rice with pigeon peas, generously flavored with salted pork, sofrito, tomato sauce and some great Latin seasonings.
Along with pernil (roasted pork), this is the national dish of Puerto Rico. It’s such a great side dish to have in your repertoire, as it goes well with so many things.
If you’re a big fan of big flavor, this Puerto Rican rice is a must!
This arroz con gandules is the newest to find its way into our regular rotation.
What is Arroz con Gandules?
Meaning “rice with pigeon peas”, this is a Puerto Rican rice preparation typically served around Christmas and other special occasions. But it’s so good and so easy, it’s great any time!
It’s one of those traditional dishes that has many little variations, as the recipes vary from family to family, passing down the generations.
Some typical ingredients include salted pork, tomato, sazon, cumin, oregano, bay leaves and olives.
The real star though is sofrito, a combination of peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro and culantro. You can find it in the Latin section of your grocery store, but if you love fresh, check out my homemade sofrito recipe. It only takes a few minutes.
What kind of rice to use
Although not traditional, we used basmati. We always have it around and love how it cooks perfect every time.
If you use the more traditional medium or long grained rice, it is very important to rinse it well before adding it into the pot. This removes some of the starch and prevents everything from getting too mushy.
Parboiled rice is another good option, as some of the starch has already been removed. In this case, as it has already been partially cooked, you would want to reduce the cooking time by ten minutes.
As mentioned, the ingredients can vary. Here is what we used today:
- Pigeon peas (gandules)
- Crushed tomatoes
- Chicken stock
- Seasonings – cumin, oregano, bay leaves, sazon con anchiote (a seasoning you can find in the Latin section of your grocery store).
How to make Arroz con Gandules
This amazing dish comes together pretty easy.
First, cut your bacon into one inch pieces and fry it in the pot you will be cooking the arroz in. We used a 5 quart dutch oven. Remove the bacon and save for later.
Add in sofrito, tomato and sazon. Give it a stir and cook for a few minutes.
Add stock, pigeon peas, olives and seasonings. Bring it to a boil.
Stir in the rice and cooked bacon. Mix everything well, reduce heat and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes.
When the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, stir everything gently, trying not to disturb the bottom. The rice that sticks to the bottom (called pegao) becomes crispy and is the most prized part of the dish!
What to serve with Arroz con Gandules
It is most commonly associated with pernil, which is marinated and roasted pork shoulder. The two combine to make the stars of a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas spread. The combo goes great with maduros or tostones.
Arroz con gandules refrigerates well for 4-5 days in an airtight container. Reheat on stovetop or in the microwave, adding a sprinkle of water.
It also freezes well. I keep it in freezer rated ziploc bags and squeeze out as much air as I can before freezing.
So there you go, yet another Latin flavor bomb. Arroz con gandules has quickly become one of our staple side dishes. Give it a try, we’re sure you’ll love it!
Please leave a comment and review when you cook this, I love hearing from you! And be sure to subscribe to the GypsyPlate mailing list, we’re always cooking up new recipes for you!
Arroz con Gandules (along with Pernil), on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 4 strips of bacon, cut into one inch pieces
- 1/2 cup sofrito (see note 1)
- 1/3 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 packet sazón con culantro y achiote (I use Goya brand)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 15oz can pigeon peas, drained
- 1/2 cup green olives, halved
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups white rice (see note 2)
- In a large pot such as a dutch oven or caldero over medium high heat, fry bacon until crisp. Remove from pan for later use.
- Add sofrito, crushed tomato and sazon to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes.
- Add chicken stock, pigeon peas, olives, oregano, cumin and bay leaves to the pot. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Stir in rice and crumbled bacon. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 25-30 minutes, until rice is tender and all water is absorbed.
- You can use store bought or follow my recipe for homemade sofrito.
- We used basmati. For conventional long or medium grain rice, be sure to first rinse the rice well to remove starch.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 219Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 7mgSodium 572mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 5gSugar 2gProtein 10g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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