Yesterday I had this incredible urge for rice, but not just any rice, I wanted the rice that brings back memories of my childhood, the one that makes me reminisce about holidays and family gatherings back home in Puerto Rico. This particular rice is a staple of any festive gathering, especially Christmas. It is typically served hand-in-hand with pernil or pasteles.
If there is anything we know it’s rice. Growing up I think I ate it with almost every meal. It wasn’t always the same rice, sometimes it was white, yellow or orange. Sometimes it had chicken, beef, pork or sausage. Sometimes it had beans over it and an over-medium egg with some fried sweet plantains on the side. Mmmmmm, I am makeing myself hungry again. In PR there are countless ways to make rice but this is my favorite hands down.
Hubby was very excited that I was making it. Although, I was about to beat him with my wooden spoon because he kept stealing the bacon and sausage that I was using to make the rice. Then he would complain that he was hungry. Like it is my job to feed him or something. Punk! I eventually had to banish him from the kitchen. I told Jake to keep guard of the kitchen door but that was useless. He was focus on the possibility of me dropping some sausage or bacon on the floor.
Regardless, the rice turned out fan-freaking-tastic! I had myself a plate and went back for seconds and I rarely go back for seconds. Hubby I think went back for thirds and picked most of the meat out of it. He denys it, but he had a whole lot more sausage on his plate then I did.
When picking a sausage I encourage you to get something with a little spice in it, the andouille sausage was perfect. The rice comes out very tender and full of flavor and I love the pigeon peas because they kind of pop in your mouth. This is really great and belive it or not it makes great leftovers. It doesn’t get hard and brittle like most left over rice. It stays soft and re-heats very well. Make a big pot because your going to want more later. I promise.
Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas) (Serves 6)
- 2 cups long grain rice, rinsed
- 4 cups water
- 4 strips thick cut bacon, chopped
- 4 tbs Sofrito
- 1 15 oz can Gandules (Pigeon Peas), drained
- 1 link Andouille Sausage (can sub with Polish or Chorizo Sausage)
- 1 envelope Sazon con Culanto y Achiote
- 1 8 oz can Tomato Sauce
- salt and pepper
- 1 banana leaf (optional)*
Heat a large pot on medium-high heat, cook chopped bacon until crispy, remove bacon from pot and set aside.
Add sofrito (stand back it will spatter) to bacon drippings, cook about 3-5 minutes. Add pigeon peas, sausage, bacon, rice, sazon and tomato sauce to the pot, stir.
Add water and bring it to a boil on high until water evaporates, stir rice over ONLY once*, place banana leaf over the rice, cover and simmer on low for 35 minutes.
*It is important not to stir rice more then once otherwise it will come out very sticky.
*The banana leaf it optional, it give the rice a nice flavor. I purchase my banana leaves at my local Asian market.