In 2008, I had an opportunity to go to Puerto Rico for the first time. I did not go because I heard that the beaches and people were more beautiful than your average, but rather because I fell in love with the culture long before I got there. In college, I dated a Puerto Rican who taught me to cook authentic dishes, taught me Spanish (much of which I still remember despite not using it much these days), and made me fall in love with Reggaeton. Surprising, I know! I can’t tell you how many times I jammed to Wisin Y Yandel’s Revolucion album in my car going to morning classes. Which song would you like me to rap for you in my broken yet confident Spanish? I fell in love with Puerto Rico before ever stepping foot off of the plane in San Juan. Travel is not the only way to live a rich and cultured life. You can live a life with these values right at home if you’re open to it. Now, I am in my mid-twenties and happily married to my handsome, Nigerian man (I am sure you see the pattern here), I still enjoy elements of Puerto Rican culture in my home. Just like in college, arroz (y gandules) con pollo is still a staple in my kitchen and the aroma alone brings my husband to the stove curiously sniffing to see what I am whipping up.
How good is Puerto Rican rice? It’s good enough to eat nearly every night – which I did. I have no regrets. I could never pass the torch to you, my readers, without giving you a literal taste of traditional food. Grab your pen and paper. This is going to be one of your favorite recipes as it is mine.
Arroz con Gandules Recipe
(Traditional Puerto Rican Rice and Beans/Peas Recipe)
What you will need
- 2 cups rice
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1 can gandules verdes (reserve liquid)
- 1 tablespoon Adobo
- 1 table spoon Sofrito
- 1 packet Sazon
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- Sautee chopped onion in EVOO in a large skillet or cast iron pot.
- Add water, Adobo, Sofrito, Sazon, rice, gandules with the reserved liquid.
- Bring the contents to a hard boil for roughly two minutes.
- Cover and reduce heat all the way to the lowest setting – trust me on this. Allow to cook at lowest setting for 30 minutes
- Stir once every 10 minutes.