Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas)


This is a dish that is made in every Latin American household.  There are probably hundreds of variations since everyone makes “theirs” slightly different.  This is how I like to do it.  The difference here is that instead of adding the olives at the beginning, I add them at the end.  I think it gives the rice a “cleaner” flavor.

Arroz Con Gandules

(Rice and Pigeon Peas)


  • 1/4 cup achiote oil or 1/4 cup olive oil with a packet of sazon with achiote mixed in
  • 1/2 cup sofrito sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 lb boneless pork, cut into small dice
  • 1 pound cooked pigeon peas, rinsed and drained if using canned
  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 banana leaves (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pimento-stuffed green olives, coarsely chopped


Heat achiote oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until it ripples; stir in sofrito and season with salt, pepper, and cumin.  Cook until sofrito reduces and starts sizzling, about 5 minutes.


Stir in pork, peas, and rice until everything is lightly covered with oil.  Add enough broth to cover rice and bones by the width of two fingers.  Cover with a banana leaf, if using, folding as necessary to fit into the pot.


Bring to a boil and let cook until the level of broth reaches the level of the rice (it will look like numerous volcanos. Remove leaf, add in olives, give a good stir, replace leaf, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.


Remove leaf and fluff with fork; serve hot.

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