Arroz con Gandules – Rice with Pigeon Peas

Arroz con gandules is a combination of rice, pigeon peas and pork, cooked in the same pot with Puerto Rican-style sofrito. This is the signature dish of Puerto Rican culture and also has become very popular throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Preparation of Rice with Pigeon Peas – Arroz con Gandules

This dish is mainly served around holidays and special occasions. The rice is cooked in olive oil that has been infused with annatto seeds. Added are pigeon peas, black pepper, cumin, bay leaves, sofrito, olives, capers, broth, and a meat–usually smoked ham, pork, or turkey, but possible substitutions are cooking ham, bacon, or chorizo. Orégano brujo is also a very popular ingredient. The rice is then covered with a plantain or banana leaf and is finished off. Annatto, or achiote is what gives arroz con gandules its distinctive yellow colour.

Arroz con Gandules
Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Recipe type: Side Dish
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup sofrito
  • ½ cup chopped ham (or cooked pork pieces)
  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Sazón - Puerto Rican seasoning salt
  • 420 g (15 oz) can pigeon peas, drained and rinsed (substitute in Australia black-eyed beans)
  1. Heat olive oil in a 6 litre pot. Saute the sofrito and chopped ham for 1 minute.
  2. Add the rice, water, sazón and pigeon peas/black-eyed beans.
  3. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 35 to 40 minutes.
Do not use a lid with a vent that allows the steam to escape. Never lift the lid while cooking.
When finished cooking, stir the rice before serving. It should be light and fluffy.


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