Arroz con Gandules is a delicious one-pot recipe cooked with a winning combination of rice, pork, and pigeon peas. Ingredients are cooked in a hearty sofrito and take its vibrant yellow hue from the addition of achiote powder. Along with roasted pork, it is considered Puerto Rico’s national dish. Try it today!
Heat oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Cook ham, onions, garlic for 5 to 8 minutes or until ham starts to brown and onions are tender.
Stir in sazon seasoning, achiote powder, adobo seasoning, oregano, coriander, and cayenne. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant; stir in tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in rice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until well coated. Stir in broth and diced tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in pigeon peas and olives; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender and absorbs most of the liquid. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork, sprinkle with cilantro and finish with lime juice.
Substitute ground achiote with achiote or annatto paste if desired.
Substitute canned green pigeon peas with frozen if available.
This flavorful dish is commonly served on special occasions and during the Christmas season – and well, it’s basically part of most Latino cuisine. Arroz con Gandules is typically prepared with a sofrito base made up of herbs like onions, cilantro, garlic, and a blend of peppers. The rice is cooked in annatto (achiote)-infused oil, giving the grains the dish’s distinctive and beautiful yellow/orange color.
Traditionally, the pigeon peas are cooked in advance as they require soaking and then a bit of time to cook and soften, but cooked and canned pigeon peas can easily be found in almost any supermarket. For easier prep, use these in place of dried peas.
Pork is the meat of choice for this tasty dish but, it’s also commonly made using salted pork, ham, or smoked ham hocks. Bacon, salchichón (salami), or chorizo are sometimes stirred in for added flavor and texture, too. The recipe is completed by adding olives, capers, tomato sauce, and bay leaves to the mix of rice, peas, and pork, along with the chicken broth. Then, everything is cooked altogether until the broth is completely absorbed. In the countryside, you will find that some people still cook this quintessential meal over an open fire pit.
For the sake of time and ease, our version features all of the amazing taste but is a bit easier and faster to prepare. We’ve opted for canned pigeon peas and tomatoes, cooked ham, and adobo and sazon seasoning so that you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying this delicious dish with family and friends, without missing out on any of the traditional flavors. Get a bag of Carolina® Jasmine Rice or white rice and let the cooking begin!
If you’re unsure about what to make next with your rice and adobo seasoning, why not try it out in Spicy Rice Croquettes with Chorizo.