Saturday, April 17, 2010

Con Amor de Puerto Rico

From Puerto Rico with love comes, Arroz con Gandules, the National dish of “La Isla del Encanto.” Although, the most important thing to ever come out of this Caribbean island is my lovely and talented wife.

Gandules (Pigeon Peas) are a popular food in Caribbean cooking. This legume contains high levels of protein, along with the amino acids methionine, lysine, and tryptophan. You can purchase them dried, canned, or frozen. For this recipe I used canned. To enhance the color of the plate, I used both brown pigeon peas and green ones.

The following interpretation is my take on this Puerto Rican classic. I must be free to create in the kitchen, so some of the ingredients have been changed. However, I certainly feel that the tropical soul of the dish is still there.

First we want to create a strong flavor base to work with, that comes from the bacon, andouille sausage, vegetables, spices, and white wine. The wine must be reduced to almost dry. This step is time consuming, however the intense flavor gained makes it all worthwhile. I like to use white extra long grain rice for this preparation. Feel free to substitute brown rice for a healthier plate. The garnish is cooked chorizo, gold pearl onions, edible flowers, and cilantro.

Enjoy this taste from ‘La Isla del Encanto” you will be transported to the Caribbean with a most unique amalgamation of flavors.

Arroz con Gandules:
4 strips bacon – (diced)
3 oz Andouille sausage – (out of casing)
1 golden beet – (small dice)
2 red bell peppers – (small dice)
1 tbs bird’s eye chili – (small dice)
2 leeks - white & light green parts only (small dice)
2 shallots – (small dice)
Ground Cumin
Ground coriander
Sea salt
White pepper

1 Meyer lemon – (zested & juiced)
15 0z brown pigeon peas – (drained of canning liquid)
15 oz green pigeon peas – (drained of canning liquid)
350 ml Spanish white wine – (Albarino)
8 oz tomato sauce
3 cups uncooked Canilla rice – (extra long grain)
5 cup water
3 bay leafs

1. Heat 1 tbs Safflower oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the bacon and sausage.
2. Cook till rendered.
3. Add the golden beet, leeks, red bell pepper, bird’s eye chili, and shallots.
4. Season with all-spice, ground cumin, ground coriander, sea salt, and white pepper.
5. Cook for 10 minutes.
6. Deglaze with the white wine.
7. Cook till almost completely reduced.
8. Add the Meyer lemon juice and tomato sauce.
9. Cook for 3 minutes.
10. Add the rice, pigeon peas, bay leafs, and water.
11. Re-season with all-spice, ground coriander, ground cumin, sea salt, and white pepper.
12. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Lightly tent with aluminum foil.
13. Cook until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.

NOTE:  You must stir the pot very frequently.  To avoid anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.

For the Garnish:
2 Spanish chorizos
10 gold pearl onions
Edible Flowers

1. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
2. Soak the onions in warm water for 5 minutes to loosen the skin.
3. Using a paring knife peel the skins off.
4. Toss in olive oil & lightly season with sea salt
5. Roast in oven for 25 minutes. Stirring 2 to 3 times to avoid burning.

6. Cut chorizo into ½ inch rounds.
7. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. No oil.
8. Add the chorizo. Brown on both sides. DO NOT OVER DO IT. Brown good, black throw it away.

To Plate:
1. Center a generous portion of the rice.
2. Top with the pearl onions & chorizo.
3. Scatter the edible flowers and cilantro.
4. Finish the presentation with the Meyer lemon zest.

You know a dish is right when you cannot stop eating it. I need a nap, because I really overdid it tonight.

That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!


  1. This is very nice. I like the use of flower petals rather the whole flower. I am not familiar with pigeon peas or canilla rice. I will be looking for both. Is there a substitution for pigeon peas? Black-eyed peas?

  2. Primo I love this recipe, especially since I can easily veganize it. So funny, when I first saw your post, I thought you titled it, Puerco Rico! I wasn't far off, was I?

  3. Hi Lazaro
    Excellent combination of flavours, a very flavoursome dish.
    Wishing you a great Sunday x

  4. Wow! That looks absolutely amazing!! Better than anything I could have ordered in a resturaunt!

  5. Stunning dish! It looks divine!

  6. The flavor has to be intense and amazing with the use of bacon, andouille sausage, bird chili peppers-wow. I think you did a good job honoring and fusing the Caribbean flavors.

  7. Oh que recintinha deliciousa com Amor, e amor que fazes os deliciousa nao e.....
    bjs e bom fim de semana....

  8. This sounds like a terrific specialty I would love to try! I love your presentation!

  9. So beautiful looking and healthy for you too! Lovely lovely! I will try this soon! YUMMY! :D Great stuff!

  10. A very delicious combination of flavours. I know very little, almost nothing, about Caribbean cuisine, and now I am very much intrigued!

  11. I've never had any kind of Puerto Rican dish, as far as I know. I'm not too familiar with pigeon peas and definitely have never heard of Canilla rice. I learned something new tonight! Thanks!

    Wonderful flavors, as always. :)

  12. Looks great- truly. It's tagged as a "must try" in my book... I will have to let you know when I do! :)

  13. What a fantastic recipe! Not only does it look beautiful, but it sound absolutely delicious! I'm so glad that you commented on my blog so that I could find yours- you have such authentic, quality meals here! I love the unique attention to detail that you provide- even the guide to plating it! Thanks for creating such wonderful food and for your excellent advice!!

  14. What incredible flavors are in this dish! It looks totally delicious and so nicely plated!

  15. Oh that is definitely a gorgeous dish, very well balanced and put together. Great flavor combo!

  16. What a sweet comment about your wife. I appreciate a man who knows how to appreciate his wife. I'm not very familiar with Caribean cuisine but your dish looks and sounds delicious. Can't wait to read more.

  17. An exotic interplay of flavors :D

  18. hummm!!!!! j'adoreça sa l'aire super bon en plus avec du bacon humm, j'adore, bravo il est superbe sa donne vraiment envie de manger , bisous

  19. You have my mouth watering for this dish. What a wonderful combination of flavors. It looks so elegant too. And, what a sweetie you are to speak of your wife in such warm regards.

    ~Thank you for sharing this recipe

  20. Beautiful presentation! This recipe is original and creative, a tasty combination!

  21. thank you so much for the comment & for following - I appreciate the support.

    this looks incredible!!
    I love your presentation skills as well!
    Looking forward to seeing more!

  22. Hi Lazaro, It looks very yummy, I love Andouille sausage, Puerto Rican flavors are delicious.

  23. I love this, and can hear your accent as you speak through your writing! Ummm, I may have to make rice today, maybe even for breakfast before work! Keep inspiring me...

  24. This is a great post Lazaro!

    I make Arroz con Gandules once a week. My husband is Dominican and he loves it. I have gained a few pounds since I met him because of Arroz con Gandules :-(

    I make a lot of variations with meat, veggies, etc. Ahh, and just because of my love always requests "concon", I let the rice stick to the bottom of the pot, go figure that, he says that's the best part of the dish.

    Once again, great presentation!

    Alba H. Rodriguez

  25. I love your interpretation on this Puerto Rican classic. I also enjoy reading your comments as you generously support culinary adventures of fellow foodie bloggers everywhere!

    So glad I stopped in & I'll be back.

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  26. I love the way as you present your food, going to follow you will wait for more recipes, ideas, & tips. keep writing & sharing.

  27. While not traditional, your interpretation looks delicious and contemporary especially with a golden beet.


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