Arroz con gandules

Arroz con gandules is a combination of rice, pigeon peas, and pork, cooked in the same pot with sofrito. This is Puerto Rico's national dish along with roasted pork.[1][2][3]

Arroz con gandules
Place of originPuerto Rico
Region or stateGreater Antilles
Main ingredientsMedium-grain rice, pigeon peas, sofrito, annatto, and pork


This dish is mainly served during Christmas season or for special occasions.[4] The sofrito is the most important part of seasoning the rice. In Puerto Rican cooking sofrito, which is used as a base in many recipes, typically consists of the following ingredients: Recao, cilantro, yellow onions, garlic, aji dulce peppers, cubanelle peppers, and tomatoes or tomato sauce. Sofrito is blended into a watery or paste consistency. The idea is for the rice to absorb the sofrito for maximum flavor. Tomatoes are typically roasted the day of as the rest of the ingredients can be prepared together days in advance. The tomatoes are squeezed through a fine strainer discarding the seeds and skin.[5][6]

The day of cooking the first step is cooking the pigeon peas if they are being prepared from dried form or fresh, although the canned and frozen variety are widely available in Latino markets or supermarkets in cities where there is a significant Puerto Rican population. In a separate pot, annatto seeds are heated with an oil such as olive oil, or lard. The oil is strained and seeds are discarded. Annatto oil gives the rice a distinctive yellow/orange color.[7]

Salt pork, ham, smoked ham hocks, bacon, salchichón (salami), or chorizo is added alone or in combination. The sofrito is also sauteed in the annatto oil to release the aromatics and cooked until most of the water has evaporated while stirring gently.[3][8]

A mix of manzanilla olives, piquillo peppers, and capers fermented together called alcaparrado is added with bay leaves are then added and cooked until sauce is thick almost to a paste. Rice, pigeon peas, salt, black pepper, cumin, and in some recipes orégano brujo and coriander seeds are then added and stirred until the rice is coated with sofrito. Broth is then poured into the pot and cooked on high heat then lowered once boiling starts and covered with a plantain leaf and lid. Plantain leaves give the rice more flavor, aroma and helps cook quicker. In the countryside this is cooked over open fire pit sometimes in clay pots that help boost the flavor.[9][10]

Arroz con gandules y pollo

See also


  1. "Reporter's Notebook". York Daily Record. York, Pennsylvania. 15 December 2003. Retrieved 14 July 2020. In the tradition of her Puerto Rican background, she was making ... arroz con gandles, also known as pigeon peas and rice.
  2. Ramírez-Hendrix, Yined (27 July 2011). "El Gusto Boricua". El Nuevo Herald (in Spanish). Miami, Florida. Retrieved 14 July 2020. Una de las ofertas más buscadas se llama el plato boricua, que consiste de arroz con guandules, pernil y pastel"
  3. Carballo, Viviana (6 January 1999). "Sofrito, imprescindible para latinos". El Nuevo Herald (in Spanish). Miami, Florida. Retrieved 14 July 2020. Se puede decir que el arroz con guandules es el plato nacional de Puerto Rico.
  4. Huyke, Giovanna (14 December 2005). "Los gandules de Navidad". El Nuevo Herald (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 July 2020. ...sabores que me encantan o que evocan fiestas como es la Navidad puertorriqueña. ¡A cocinar gandules!...Arroz con gandules y pasteles para la Navidad Puertorriqueña.
  5. Feinstein-Bartl, Beth (28 January 2007). "Culture Corner What:Arroz con gandules". South Florida sun Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Retrieved 14 July 2020. Wherever you find a Puerto Rican, you will find arroz con gandules.
  6. Perez, Miguel (24 December 1997). "For North Jersey's Latino families Christmas Eve is a night of thanks". The Record. Hackensack, New Jersey. Retrieved 14 July 2020. I'm roasting the pork and making the arroz con gandules...when all those treats come together, you have a traditional Puerto Rican Nochebuena meal.
  7. LoBiondo, Fran (5 March 1997). "Spice up your supper with arroz". The Daily Journal. Vineland, New Jersey. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  8. Aboy Valldejuli, Carmen (1967). Cocina criolla. Alpine Press, South Braintree, Massachusetts. p. 457.
  9. Arroyo, Ronald (24 February 1980). "This Puerto Rican Will Check That Little Census Box Properly". The Sacramento Bee. Sacramento, California. Retrieved 14 July 2020. My wife is Mexican-American. And when I request Puerto Rican arroz con gandules for dinner, I get it as a side dish...
  10. Poirier, Kevin (15 January 2011). "Students immerse themselves in Hispanic culture, foods at Tremper". Kenosha News. Kenosha, Wisconsin. Retrieved 14 July 2020. To stimulate those senses, she organizes cooking demonstrations...the students cooked Cuban Platanos Maduros and Puerto Rican Arroz con Gandules..
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