Recipe: rice and pigeon peas

Recipe: rice and pigeon peas

Rice and Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules ? Puerto Rico)
This is the national rice and bean dish of Puerto Rico.

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. Sauté onions, garlic and green bell pepper, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomato sauce, olives, capers, oregano, parsley, basil, saffron threads or turmeric, salt and pepper; then add water and pigeon peas. Increase the heat to high. Add the rice, stir once, and bring it to a boil. Cover and boil, without stirring, until most of the water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low. Stir the rice once from the bottom to the top; cover, and cook for approximately 20 minutes more. Test the rice for doneness. If it is not tender, add a little more water and cook it, covered, for 5 minutes more.

Spoon the rice into a serving dish, garnish with red bell pepper, and serve at once.

Serves 12 as a side dish or 6 as a main dish.

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