Cookbook:Arroz con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice and Pigeon Peas)
Arroz con Gandules is a Puerto Rican dish of rice, pigeon peas, smoked meat, and sofrito.
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon achiote (annatto) seeds
- 3 cup Sofrito (recipe below)
- ½ cup of coarsely chopped Alcaparrado (manzanilla olives, pimiento, and capers)
- 3 tablespoons of salt
- 1 tablespoon of fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds or ground cumin or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds or ground coriander or more to taste
- 1 or 2 whole pieces of smoked ham hock or smoked turkey, depending how big just for flavor
- 1½ pounds of Puerto Rican salami (salchichón), ham, or chorizo, diced
- 6 cups of medium grain rice (do not rinse)
- A 13 ounce bag of frozen pigeon peas or a 15 ounce can of pigeon peas drained and rinsed
- Beef, chicken, turkey or vegetable broth. Home made is best but you can use store bought or water (about 7 cups)
- 6 bay leaves or avocado leaves
- 1 banana leaf or plantain leaf (optional)
For the Sofrito
- 2 medium yellow onions, cut into large chunks
- 3 to 4 Italian frying peppers (also know as cubanelle peppers)
- 16 to 20 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 large bunch cilantro, washed
- 10 to 12 ají dulce, seeded (A.K.A. ají cachucha, quechucha, ajicito, or ají gustoso)
- 10 leaves of culantro (recao), or another handful of cilantro
- 3 to 4 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded, cored and cut into chunks or roasted then skin and seeds removed
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks or roasted first then seeds and some skin removed
- Add chop onions to blender and blend until liquified.
- With the motor running, add the remaining sofrito ingredients one at a time and process until smooth. Remove 3 cup of sofrito for rice. The sofrito will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze in ice trays and it will last a month. Tomatoes can be roasted and passed threw a strainer removing seeds and skin as an option. Red peppers are usually roasted on an open flame before blending into sofrito.
- Heat the oil and annatto seeds in a small skillet over medium heat just until the seeds give off a lively, steady sizzle. Don't overheat the mixture or the seeds will turn black and the oil green. Once they're sizzling, pull the pan from the heat and let stand until the sizzling stops. Strain as much of the oil as you can into a heavy 5-quart pot or Dutch and let it stand for at least 5 minutes.
- Lightly toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small skillet over low heat for a few minutes before grinding them releases flavor and aroma. Keep an eye on them, they turn dark fast. Grind in a little spice grinder or coffee mill.
- If using frozen pigeon peas boil for 10 minutes before using. If using from can drain the liquid and rinse.
- Re-heat oil over high heat until rippling. Stir in ham hock and salami and brown. Add sofrito, alcaparrado, and salt. Cook until sofrito stops boiling and sizzles, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, bayleaves or avocado leaves, and black pepper and cook stirring in the sofrito for an additional 30-45 seconds until the armor release from spices.
- Stir in the rice and peas until everything is mixed together and rice is coated with oil all over. Stir in enough broth or water to cover the rice by the width of two fingers. Top with banana leaf (or pan lid), folding it up as necessary to fit over rice or can cut what ever sticks out pot. Bring to a boil & boil without stirring until the level of liquid meets the rice. Remove the banana leaf, give the rice a big stir, and put leaf back on top. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with lid, and cook until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. About 20 minutes.