Arroz con gandules made simple

Arroz con gandules is the one recipe everybody asks from us. “You’re Puerto Rican? Great! When can I come over for arroz con gandules?” True story. It’s the one staple dish everyone in Chicago knows and loves as it’s commonly served alongside the popular plantain jibarito sandwich.

Funny enough, this is not something we cook all the time at home. Arroz con gangules is reserved for special occasions, like Christmas or Thanksgiving or a very traditional birthday. But the great thing about Chicago is that if you get a sudden craving, you can easily get it year-round in several Puerto Rican spots around town, like The Jibarito Stop or Borinquen Lounge — Another reason we don’t make it a lot.

But do we have a recipe? Yes, we do! And it’s delicious. It’s also very flexible. If you don’t have sofrito, don’t panic. Up next is a version made with ingredients you can easily find in Chicago.

What are gandules?

The one thing you do need is of course, gandules. Just stop by Cermak or Mariano’s and grab a can. These small beans are native to Africa and are full of vitamins and protein. As a kid, my grandma used to make me a big soup with gandules to help me with my anemia.

Nowadays, many people also use it as a meat substitute by fermenting the beans to make tempeh. Ready to cook? Wait until you see the list of ingredients! But hang tight, it’s not as difficult as it looks.

Verdelicias' Arroz con Gandules - Ingredients:
  • ¼ Cup of olive oil
  • 2 Teaspoons of achiote or annatto seeds (optional)
  • 4 Cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1/3 Cup of minced onion
  • 2 Tablespoons of finely chopped celery leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons of finely chopped scallions 
  • 2 Tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 Can of gandules or pigeon peas
  • 3 Tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 ½ Cups of short grain rice (or basmati) 
  • 1/2 Cup of local salami, small cubes (Underground Meat’s summer sausage is great!)
  • ½ Cup of local ham off the bone, cubed (Optional)
  • 10 Manzanilla olives and a drip of the brine
  • ¼ Cup of roasted peppers, chopped
  • ½ Organic beef bouillon 
  • ½ Organic chicken bouillon
  • 2 Teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons of dried cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Bay leaf

Warm up the oil and add the annatto seeds. Let the oil get infused for about 8 to10 minutes before removing the seeds. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then, add the garlic, peppers, celery leaves, scallions, cilantro, bay leave and spices.

Let it cook for a couple of minutes before adding the olives, ham and salami. Cook for a 3 to 4 minutes before adding the gandules, rice and tomato paste. Cover with water, add a touch of salt and mix well. Cook until done, but stir the rice once or twice. Add a few drops of water if necessary. (It takes about 25 minutes, depending on the type of rice.)

#VerdeTip: Cover your lid with aluminum foil to add steam and to make the rice fluffier.

No comments:

Post a Comment