Thursday, January 3, 2008

my favorite rice dish: Arroz con Gandules

Growing up, my mom's ex-husband's mother lived with us. She was the cutest, most sweet grandma you could have. She was from Puerto Rico and we of course called her Abuela (Spanish for grandma). There are a handful of people in my life who have helped define how I cook, eat and taste food and she was for sure one of these people. We had beans and rice with plantains just about every night with whatever else we were having. On special occasions (Christmas, Easter, etc.) we had Arroz con Gandules, which is rice with pigeon peas. This is a dish that is simple to make and was very easily veganized. Typically it has some sort of pork product, used mostly for flavor. Instead of pork, I just used extra oil since we all know fat is flavor. You can use canned pigeon peas (gandules) but today I cooked a half-pound of the dried peas for about an hour and a half, drained them and set them aside. In a large pan I heated up 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup canola oil with 2 packets of Sazon with Coriander and Annatto (this would be a seasoning blend you should be able to find in the Spanish/Ethnic section of your grocery store). Next, I added 2 1/2 cups of long grain white rice and lightly cooked the rice in the seasoned oil for a few minutes (like you would when you pilaf a rice). I then added 1/2 cup of Sofrito, which is a tomato, green bell pepper, onion and garlic sauce that is used as a base to many Spanish dishes (you can make this homemade, but I used a bottled store bought kind . . . again, you should be able to find in the Spanish/Ethnic section of your grocery store). I also added in about 3/4 of a can of diced tomatoes but ALL of the juice from the diced tomatoes (or you could just use 1 can of tomato sauce and not use any diced tomatoes). I squeezed the tomatoes in my hands before adding them to the pot so there wouldn't be huge chunks of tomatoes in the dish. Next, I added 4 cups of veggie stock, the reserved cooked gandules, 2 tablespoons of pimento stuffed Spanish green olives (left whole), sea salt and black pepper to taste. I stirred the pot once, covered it with a tightly fitted lid and cooked on medium low heat for about 20 minutes. DO NOT STIR THE RICE WHILE IT COOKS. Doing so will make the rice all sticky, starchy and just plan gummy (called "amogollao") Yuck!
There is something magical that only an Abuela can make happen to the bottom of this rice dish which is called "pegao" (a crispy layer of rice that everyone fights for when it is served). It takes a great deal of oil and a watchful eye. I attempted but failed at being able to have "pegao" and I think it was because my heat was to high (cos, it got a bit burnt) . . . Although, I think, I just don't have that special touch my Abuela had.
Not yet any way.
Photobucket

40 comments:

Jackie said...

Happy New Year.

Sounds terrific. I love Spanish food so thanks for the well explained recipe.

Added you to my blogroll.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Wow, that sounds delicious!

Maxcactus said...

I can imagine how good this must taste.

Veg-a-Nut said...

Happy New Year! Your rice dish looks fantastic.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Sounds yummy, I'm sure you're abuela would be proud!! Would friedn plantains go well with this? I'm always looking for an excuse to fry plantains....

Calimaryn said...

Oh yum! That sounds so good, all my favorite things; rice, beans, green olives!

If I share my cutlets (with gravy of course!) will you share your Arroz con Gandules? Pretty please!!!!!

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

thanks Jackie- Happy New Year to you as well!

Melisser- it was delicious!

Maxcactus- wish you were here to have some!

veg-a-nut- Happy New Year to you too! and thanks!!

vegannoodle- there is never a wrong time to have fried plantains. but yes, fried plantains would be perfect with this dish.

camimaryn- deal!

VeggieGirl said...

how fun to have someone living with you who was able to introduce you to another culture, and great dishes like this one!! sounds delicious!!

Melody Polakow said...

Looks and sound delicious.. and yes.. the exact right heat would probably create that delicious crust.

Pink Theory said...

Ah that looks great! I need to learn me some vegan Spanish cuisine.

Vegyogini said...

How wonderful that you have such a great relationship with people in your extended family. Your abuela's dish sounds delicious; thank you for sharing the instructions!

Veggie said...

I'd love to learn how to make Spanish food (I really love Mexican). I always wondered what Sofrito was when I saw in recipes. Thanks, for the explanation.

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