ARROZ CON GANDULES (Puerto Rican style rice and Pigeon Peas) and PERNIL (Puerto Rican style Roast Pork)


It’s that time of year again when friends and family will be coming to visit. That can only mean one thing, it’s time for me to cook the national dish of Puerto Rico. A gathering wouldn’t be complete without the unmistakable aroma of rice and roast pork cooking in the kitchen.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Sofrito

1 large green pepper coarsely chopped and seeded

1 medium onion coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic finely diced

1 teaspoon dried cilantro

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

Place all of the above ingredients into a small food processor and pulse until smooth to make sofrito. Set aside 1/4 cup of the sofrito mixture to prepare the rice. Reserve remaining 2/3 cup of mixture to make pork marinade (mojito).

Pernil

5-8 pound pork butt (bone in optional)

2/3 cup sofrito mixture

1/4 cup lemon or lime juice

1/2 cup orange juice

Place above ingredients into a 2 gallon Ziploc bag. Sealed bag and rub marinade into the pork.

Place bag in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Turn bag and rub in marinade a few times during the 24 hour. Remove the bag from refrigerator 1/2 hour before cooking and allow to sit on counter to reach room temperature. preheat oven to 325° place pork into a large Dutch oven fat side up and pour the excess marinade over the top of the pork.

Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and place in the center of the oven. Cook the pork for 3 1/2 hours. DO NOT REMOVE LID WHILE COOKING. When pork is removed from the oven let it cool 15 minutes before opening lid.

Puerto Rican Style Rice with Pigeon Peas

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup sofrito

One 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons of capers

One dozen Manzanilla olives

One can pigeon peas do not drain

2 cups long grain rice

Place oil and sofrito into a large oven proof pot and sauté over medium heat for three minutes. Then add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, capers,olives and pigeon peas to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice to the pot and cook uncovered until the water level drops below the level of the rice. remove the pot from the stove and cover the pot and place into a 350° oven for 20 minutes. When done remove pot from the oven and let it rest covered for five minutes. uncover the rice and fluff with a fork.

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