This is the national rice and bean dish of Puerto Rico. Famously known as Arroz con Gandules.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded, de-ribbed and diced
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, drained
5 cups cold water
1 (16 ounce) can pigeon peas, drained
2 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 teaspoon dried powdered oregano
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh basil
1 vial saffron threads or 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Salt, to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium red bell pepper, diced (for garnish)
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Saute the sofrito and chopped ham for 1 minute. Add rice, water, sazón and gandules. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and immediatley reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes.
Tip: Avoid removing the lid. The goal is not to allow the steam to escape.
Once finished, stir the rice before serving. If done properly, the rice will be light and fluffy. Makes 4 to 6 servings