Spanish rice with pigeon peas (arroz con gandules) in a blue bowl on a wooden counter

Spanish Rice with Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules)

Arroz con gandules, or rice with peas is a staple in most Puerto Rican and Caribbean households. It’s one of my favorite dishes to order in Spanish restaurants and I finally decided to try making it on my own. It came out so good I ate it as a main dish instead of a side! This recipe features recaíto, a savory mixture of  mild peppers, garlic, onions and spices. Recaíto is often the starting point for Latin cuisine and can be easily found in supermarkets these days, although some prefer to make their own. It looks and smells so good, I sometimes eat a small spoonful right out of the jar when I’m making this dish. 🙂

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced cooked ham or pork
1/2 cup recaíto
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons sazón seasoning (or 1 store-bought packet)
8 ounces canned pigeon peas, drained
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced

large (5-quart) pot with lid
measuring cups

1. Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat. Add recaíto and diced meat. Stir 1 minute.
2. Add rice, stirring constantly until rice is well coated with oil and lightly browned, about 1- 2 minutes.
3. Add chicken stock and stir in peas.  Bring to boil and then cover the pot, reducing heat to a simmer.
4. Simmer 20 minutes, or until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed.
5. Stir in olives, cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

• Check rice after about 15 minutes. If grains are still hard, add a little more stock or water; if the rice is too wet, uncover rice for the last few minutes of cooking, stirring occasionally.

40 minutes

3 – 4 servings

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