Sunday, August 29, 2010

Puerto Rican Rice and Beans

Over at the Regional Recipes blog event the month's theme is the food of Puerto Rico and what can be more appropriate to cook up than the National Dish of Arroz Con Gandules, or Rice and Pigeon Peas. I am always on the lookout for another rice and beans recipe to add to our repertoire and this luscious dish turned out great for dinner and reheated for our lunch over the course of several days.

I had never tried pigeon peas, but our supermarket carried a green variety under the Goya brand. They were not a bright green like pigeon peas shown on the label, but were a more drab brownish gray. However, they have a nice earthy taste and Goya handily provided a recipe for Arroz Con Gandules right on the can which I used as a springboard for my own vegetarian version using more of the veggies sproinging out of the home gardens. Pigeon peas are protein-rich legumes are grown all over the tropics and are featured in many different cuisines. Indian cooks make a lot of recipes with pigeon peas, or toor dal, so I knew I wanted to play around with this new (to me) legume.

For a traditional Puerto Rican Arroz Con Gandules one would add a little bit of chopped ham or bacon, but I souped up my vegetarian version with extra seasoning and some chopped green olives.

Arroz Con Gandules, Garden-Style

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2-3 frying peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 packets Sazon Goya con culantro y achiote (the Goya website says it gluten-free)
1 (15 oz.) can green pigeon peas, drained
2 cups rice
4 cups water
4 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
Chopped green olives for garnish

Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes, add peppers and garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes. When vegetables are softened, add Sazon Goya, pigeon peas, and water.

Bring to a boil. Lower heat, add rice and simmer, covered, until rice is cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Try to resist the temptation to stir the rice during its steaming or it may become gummy. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with chopped parsley and chopped green olives. A squirt of hot pepper sauce is also nice.

Makes 6-8 servings.

The Regional Recipes roundup will occur after the August 31 deadline and then our hostess Joanne will announce the next country we will be visiting. Previous editions of Regional Recipes have looked at the cuisines of Ethiopia, Ireland, Greece, Vietnam, and other nations, and the roundups really give a nice overview of the flavors and foods of these different countries. Can't wait to see our next destination.

I am also sending a bowl of this delicious dish to Simone of Briciole, who is hosting this month's edition of My Legume Love Affair, a monthly blog event that highlights the various legumes of the world, including my new favorite, pigeon peas. My Legume Love Affair is the brainchild of Susan, the Well-Seasoned Cook, and her blog contains all the archives of past MLLA rounds so you can spend many hours looking at the various ways cooks around the globe cook with these wonderful peas, beans and pulses.


Foodycat said...

It's so hard to beat rice & beans - such a good meal!

Laurie Ann said...

I've never heard of Sazon Goya. Would I find it in the grocery store? And green pigeon beans? I'm from Idaho. I don't believe I've ever seen these on the shelf.

Rachel said...

Hi Laurie Ann:

Sazon Goya is a spice mixture which is a salty combination of garlic powder and cilantro and annatto seed and it has a nice red color to add to the dish. If you can't find it in the "International Section" or "Hispanic foods" section of your supermarket, maybe you could order it online or substitute your own seasoning blend. I'd kick it up with a little cumin too. The international foods section is also where I find the canned beans of various kinds. We are also lucky to be an hour away from Albany where there are some great ethnic markets for exotic ingredients.

Simona said...

I have never had pigeon peas: now I must look for them at the store. Thanks for the additional information on the spice mix. And thanks for contributing such a nice dish to the event.

Ty'sMommy said...

Oh, YUM! Rice is one of my favorite comfort foods, and this one full of fantastically rich latin flavors really speaks my language. Thanks for sharing.

Tiffany said...

This looks very interesting, as in YUM. I really want to try this. Hopefully I can find something comparable to the Goya packets, if not the same thing. Thanks for the recipe.