September is National Hispanic Heritage Month and as your resident latina, it’s only natural that I share with you one of my family’s favorite Traditional Puerto Rican Rice Recipe Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas). Don’t be afraid or intimidated. You can make authentic Puerto Rican food and I am going to show you how.
Here’s a list of some of the ingredients you will need to make my Traditional Puerto Rican Rice Recipe Arroz con Gandules.
- 5 slices of pork bacon, chopped into pieces
- 1 cubanelle pepper, chopped into pieces
- 2 generous TBSP of vegetable oil (depending on size of your pot)
- A handful of fresh cilantro
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 1 – 6oz can of tomato sauce
- 2 packets of Goya Sazon
- 2 TBSP of green salad olives (sliced thin)
- 1 tsp of Tabasco Sauce
- 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 cups of white rice (uncooked)
- 1 – 12 oz can of gandules (pigeon peas) – DO NOT DRAIN
- Several cups of water (based on pot size)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
To start, use a very large, heavy pot. In my culture, we call the pot used to cook rice and other things a caldero, which is simply an aluminum pot without a non-stick coating.
Begin by sauteeing the 5 pieces of bacon over medium heat. When browned add 1/2 of the chopped cubanelle pepper, the chopped onion and the 2 chopped garlic cloves. Cook until the peppers are soft and the onion is translucent.
Drain the bacon fat from and resrve the bacon fat to use later. Remove the vegetables and bacon from the pot. Set aside. Next coat bottom of pan with bacon fat and oil. Re-add only the peppers and onions back to the pot and continue to sautee. Add a sprinkling of salt and pepper, the 2 packets of Sazon, the sliced salad olives, 1/2 of the small can of tomato sauce , the Tabasco sauce, the red pepper flakes and the garlic. Mix together.
Now it is time to add the rice. Add 4 cups of rice to the seasoned mixture and cook over a high heat (be careful not to burn your rice). At this point, you are coating the rice in the oil and seasoned mixture before adding the remaining ingredients. Add 1 can of gandules to the rice mixture – do not drain the liquid from the beans – and mix together. Add bacon back into the pot. Cover rice with enough water to completely cover mixture. Water should be at about 2 inches from the top of the pot. Add chopped cilantro. Mix and add 2 pinches of salt.
Bring rice to a boil and cook uncovered until liquid reduces. Once some of the liquid has reduced, place a lid on the rice and keep covered for about 30 minutes. Mix the rice occasionally. Rice will be finished when water is completely absorbed and is fluffy.
We usually eat this traditional Puerto Rican rice with pernil (oven roasted pork) and tostones (fried plantains). When I think about comfort foods, this is definitely one of those meals that reminds me of childhood and meals with my family.
This is how your Traditional Puerto Rican Rice Recipe Arroz con Gandules should look when completed. This recipe will not disappoint – go on, give it a try!