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Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas)

Today we are going to talk about rice. Rice? Yes, rice because you must understand that Puerto Rican Christmas isn’t Christmas without arroz con gandules. Every Puerto Rican Christmas Eve dinner requires three things arroz con gandules, pernil and pasteles. It’s not Christmas without this trinity.

If there is anything, we Puerto Ricans 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.

In PR, there are countless ways to make rice but, this is our favorite hands down.

Seriously the best rice you’re ever had!



  • 4 cups medium-grain rice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoon of sofrito
  • 4 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoon of capers
  • 1 can (15 ounces) gandules (pigeon peas)
  • 1 packet of Sazon with cilantro y achiote (I use Goya brand)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of Lager beer
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 packet ham flavoring ( I use Goya brand jamon)
  • 1/4 cup green olives stuffed with pimientos


  1. In a medium caldero or a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add oil and sauté onion, and pepper for 5 minutes, add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir sofrito and tomato sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Stir olives and capers, cook for 2 minutes. Stir the pigeon peas and chicken broth and bring to a full boil. Season with salt and pepper
  2. Add rice and stir. lower the heat to medium and cook until broth evaporates and the rice is visible with some bubbling in between the grains.
  3. Carefully mound rice to towards center of pot, reduce heat to simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 20 minutes. Stir by folding rice from the bottom up, but do not disturb bottom of pot. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes, testing to see if rice is tender and cooked through.

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