I was very lucky to grow up with Cuban and Puerto Rican friends in Chicago. Arros con Pollo and Arros con Gandules (Pigeon Peas) were two of my favorite dishes of all time. I would like to recognize a few people that shared some great Arroz with me over the years. Jenni Keas, Nellie Paddilla and mi Suegra (Gloria Rico). My all time favorite was when I visited my friend George Lamond in Queens NY. We walked over to George’s mom’s house and she had some Arros con Gandules for us. “Hands Down” my favorite and I’m still waiting for her recipe from George. Arros is by far the most difficult for me to master… I think you have to be Boricua to truly get it right. I could eat Puerto Rican food for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy!
Well, I think I finally got it right due to some advice from a random Puerto Rican woman that visited The Party Source… “Let the water completely absorb into the rice before stirring and covering!!!!”
Whole Chicken cut up
1/2 Cup Canola or Olive oil
2 Cups Medium Grain Rice (Goya Brand)
4 Cups Boiling water
1 Can Gandules (Pigeon Peas)
8 Oz can tomato sauce
8 Oz jar Goya Sofrito
1/4 Cup Spanish Olives
1 Tbsp Alcaparras (small capers)
1 Tsp Garlic powder
1 Tsp Black pepper
2 Packets Sazon Goya
Handful chopped cilantro
Caldero (Imusa Brand)
Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer and have it ready to boil when adding it to the caldero.
Heat your caldero over medium high heat and add oil. Brown chicken pieces in batches for 5 minutes on each side and remove to dish.
Add all ingredients except rice and water to your hot caldero. Stir continuously for 5 minutes. Add chicken and rice to the pot and stir only once. Add boiling water to just cover the rice. You may not need all 4 cups of water; just enough to cover. Boil uncovered over medium high heat until water is absorbed. When the water is absorbed gently stir the pot a few times and cover. Cook for 30-40 minutes covered or until the rice is tender. There should be a bottom layer of crispy rice “Pegao” at the bottom of the pan… This is delicious!
Cooking Tip: Do not over stir the rice. Resist the urge or your rice will become sticky or “Amogollao”
Cooking the rice over too high heat will burn the rice.