Puerto Rican Rice – (Arroz con Gandules) – There’s nothing more quintessentially Puerto Rican than Arroz con gandules, also known as Puerto Rican Rice. We are making Arroz con gandules (Puerto Rican Rice) with pork and fried baby bananas (guineos ninos).
Arroz con gandules (Puerto Rican Rice) is part of the Puerto Rican national dish. If there’s a party in Puerto Rico, Arroz con gandules will be there. Most families have a little way they prepare this recipe, but here’s the version courtesy of Nelson Soler.
Nelson Soler is my guest for “Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders”. Nelson Soler is the Founder, Chief Solutions Officer, and Chief Strategy officer at Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute. He was a Commissioner of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, President and CEO of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of SE Wisconsin, Executive Founding Director of the Latino Entrepreneurial Network of Southeastern Wisconsin, and Founder of the LEN LULAC Chapter.
What are Gandules?
Gandules (aka pigeon peas) are an ingredient unknown to most people outside of the Caribbean. Pigeon peas are small, oval beans with a nutty flavor. They can be found fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. They are a bright green color when they are fresh.
What ingredients are in Arroz Con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice)?
The main components of arroz con gandules are rice and pigeon peas. The key to the delicious flavor of this and many Puerto Rican recipes is aromatic sofrito, a blend of green peppers, onion, garlic, sweet Caribbean peppers, and cilantro.
Sofrito is the most essential ingredient in Puerto Rican cooking. Sazon seasoning& tomato paste gives the rice its distinctive color, and herbs like fresh oregano and bay leaves provide a fragrance that tops it off.
- Dutch Oven or similar
For the Pork Tenderloin Marinade
- 1 lb. Pork Tenderloin cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp Oregano
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 tbsp Spanish olive oil
For the Sofrito
- 1 Cubanelle Pepper chopped
- 1 tbsp Cilantro minced
- 1 tbsp Oeegano chopped
- salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 sm can Tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp Achiote oil
- 1 small onion minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the Puerto Rican Rice
- 1 can Green Pigeon Peas Gradules Verdes
- 6 oz Green olives whole with pimentos
- 1.5 cups water
- Sofrito (See above)
- 1 cup Jasmine rice Rinsed
- 4 Bay Leaves – Laurel en Hojas
- 4 Baby bananas guineos ninos.
Marinate the Pork Tenderloin
- Cover and coat the pork with salt, pepper, Oregano, Paprika, and Olive Oil.
- Set aside for 30 minutes
- Fry pork in olive oil until it reaches 145 degrees. Keep in the pan
Make the Rice
- Heat 1.5 cups water
- Add pigeon beans/ Green Pigeon Peas – Gradules Verdes
- Add Green olives whole, with pimentos
- Add i cup of the Sofrito
- add ½ tsp salt
- Tomato sauce and Achiote oil
- When it comes to a boil, Add 1 cup rinsed jasmine rice
- Cook 15 minutes
- Add the cooked pork
- Turn to simmer and place 4 bay leaves on top for fragrance (Bay Leaves – Laurel en Hojas)
fried baby bananas (guineos ninos).
- Fry baby bananas in oil -1-2 minutes until golden brown
Cooking With Milwaukee Community Leaders
I do a short interview with my guests, talk about their work in the community, and then cook something at our condo building. They pick whatever we will cook and I act as their sous chef. Here are some examples of “Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders” videos on YouTube:
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson – Copycat McDonald’s Breakfast Sandwiches Video is at –https://youtu.be/eWkN4nI5ueE
Ellen Gilligan, President, and CEO, Greater Milwaukee Foundation – Lemon Curd Tarts and Limoncello – Video is at – https://youtu.be/8TVogwQ5C-4.
Ricardo Diaz (Former Exec Director of UCC) Interview – Cuban Tostones and Plantains Recipe – Video is at – https://youtu.be/49u0OR7fa8s.
Joanne Anton, Director of Giving, Herb Kohl Philanthropies Interview – Spanakopita Video is at – https://youtu.be/8IKtZAguLv4.
Cecelia Gore, Executive Director Brewers Community Foundation – Stetson Salad Video is at – https://youtu.be/_bbXPP_JzAo.
Mark Mone, Chancellor, Univ or Wisconsin Milwaukee – Chicken Parmesan – Video is at – https://youtu.be/SS1KUGo31Xg
David Crowley, Milwaukee County Exec – Chicken Parm Sandwiches and Roasted Broccoli – Video is at – https://youtu.be/O2vQJtUv4OI.
Brian Gotter, Major Gifts Officer MACC Fund – Sausage Gravy & Biscuits – Video is at – https://youtu.be/0Jb6J7bXaWM.
Randy Bryant, Exec Director Ten Chimneys – Mango Gazpacho – Video is at – https://youtu.be/lN-U9EdARF8.
Judge Derek Mosley, Director of Marquette Univ Law School – Stuffed, roasted red peppers – Video is at – https://youtu.be/VDtpylMOcJY.
Cooking Secrets for Men
We were featured in “Milwaukee Magazine” May 2023 edition, called “Civic Gastronomy”. Here is the link – https://www.milwaukeemag.com/this-cooking-show-features-milwaukee-community-leaders/
Then a few days later, they were discussing me on the radio. It is a local Foodie show – “This Bites”, where my series “Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders” is discussed (it’s in the first few minutes of the show) https://radiomilwaukee.org/podcast/this-bites/2023-05-26/milwaukee-celebrity-cooking-show.
If you like this recipe for Arroz con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice), then you should try our recipe for Sweet Plantains and Tostones with Ricardo Diaz.
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