Arroz Con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas)



Note: you can make this dish without the meat for a vegetarian version

Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Total Preparation Time: 1 hour
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound pork, cut into ½-inch pieces (optional)
1 ounce of pancetta (optional)
1 tablespoon annatto oil (see note below)

Carmen’s Sofrito:
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 leaves of culantro, cut into chiffonade (This is in the cilantro family, so if you cannot find culantro, use cilantro instead
2 cups medium grain white rice
1 (15 ounce) can pigeon peas, drained
2 tablespoons drained capers
¼ cup roughly chopped pimento stuffed olives
4 ounces tomato sauce
Kosher Salt
1 ripe avocado, diced for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a medium size sauce pan or small dutch over over medium high heat. If making this recipe with meat, brown the pork. Once the pork is browned, transfer it to a bowl. Add the annatto oil to the pan and the pancetta and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, a few minutes. If not using meat, heat the olive and annatto oil in the pan and start at the next step.

Add all of the ingredients for the sofrito, and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until coated.  Add just enough water to cover the rice completely. Add the pigeon peas, capers and olives and stir well. Add the tomato sauce and a pinch of salt.

Boil the rice and pea mixture until the standing water has all but disappeared but the mixture is still very wet. Mound the rice and peas up into a mountain, cover tightly, reduce the heat to medium.

Check the rice for doneness in 10 minutes (it should look dry) Return the pork to the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more.

Transfer the rice to a platter, making sure to scrape up the crispy rice on the bottom. Serve the rice with slices of avocado.

Note: To make annatto oil, combine 1 tablespoon of regular olive oil and 1 tablespoon of annatto seeds in a small saucepan and simmer for a few minutes. Strain and discard the seeds. 

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8 Responses to Arroz Con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas)

  1. Sue Murakami says:

    I watch your shows on tv all the time. Thank you so much

  2. Carmen R. says:

    Hello Sara. I love watching your show. You have a great personality and you explain the recipes in a great way. I just finished watching the Arroz con Gandules and tostones show. My mouth was watering. I’m also Puerto Rican and I love all that stuff because I love to eat. Thank you to Carmen and to you and all in your show. Keep up the good work. Carmen R. Long Island NY

  3. Sara, I love watching your show. I love when you teach how to do ANYTHING in the kitchen as my mom was a great cook, but had no patience with anyone in her kitchen so I learned nothing! Thank you for the details!! Laura

  4. I was so excited to see this specific show again today. Season 8 episode 805. My mother is from Panama Canal Zone and she had the same kind of pot the lady had on the show. Bigger but the same. It was not flat! I have a lot she bought me but it’s flat. Still works well. I love guandule beans! She never made rice with all of that stuff in it but she did every once in a while with the beans and used fresh coconut juice with water. Gives it a little sweeter flavor. Loved it. Most of the time she would make rice with heavy sauteed onions! That’s how I make it and my family loves it! Especially my son and eldest daughter. Thank u for the memories u brought back to me! Kelly

  5. Zoe Seda says:

    The note at end of recipe does not say to discard annatto seeds. That spells disaster.

  6. Kinar says:

    Would love to get recipe of Rice with pigeon peas.

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