Arroz con gandules, a traditional Puerto Rican rice dish, proves to be a filling yet fresh companion to a variety of proteins. Balancing bright, fresh herbs with an earthy blend of spices, it acts as an impressive side for many smoked meats. Arroz con gandules also utilizes the legume known as the pigeon pea, a less sweet and more starchy counterpart to the common garden pea. While this dish is traditionally paired with lechón, slow-roasted pork, chef Hector Garate of Palmira Barbecue in Charleston, recommends barbecued beef cheeks to amplify the fattiness of the meat in contrast to the rice.
Notes: A caldero is a pot with similarities to a dutch oven. Achiote powder (also known as annatto seed powder), can be found online or at Latin markets. In a pinch, sofrito and sazón can be found at Latin markets.
Serves 6 to 8
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄2 cup Sofrito (ingredients below)
2 cups medium-grain rice
21⁄2 cups beef, chicken, or pork stock
1⁄3 cup tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can gandules (pigeon peas)
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Sazón (ingredients below)
2 bunches cilantro
1 bunch culantro (if available, or substitute with another bunch of cilantro)
1 onion, peeled
1 green pepper
5 sweet peppers
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup olive oil
Makes about 1⁄2 cup
1⁄3 cup achiote powder
4 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Make the Sofrito. Roughly chop onion and peppers. Combine in a blender along with oil and blend until smooth.
- Make the Sazón. In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients.
- In a caldero or dutch oven add olive oil and place over medium heat. Add Sofrito and heat for 2 minutes, then add rice and stir to mix fully. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer until rice is cooked and has absorbed most of the liquid. Fold rice until mixed well, then cover and cook on low for 20 minutes more. Serve from the pot.
Recipe ByHector Garate of Palmira Barbecue in Charleston