Arroz con gandules y pollo – Rice with green peas – Puerto Rican style


Olive oil

1 small tomato

1 small onion

¼ of green pepper

¼ of red pepper

1 pouch of powdered bouillon – chicken flavor (vegetable for veggie version)

1 tablespoon of Adobo

1 tablespoon of Sazonador seasoning

½ can of tomato sauce

1 tablespoon of beef paste – Knorr FonduChef (vegetable paste for veggie version)

½ cup of pitted olives

1 tablespoon of the olive juice from the jar

½ cup of fatty ham pieces or bacon (raw and diced small)

½ cup of green onion

1/4th of a butternut squash

1 small potato


1 teaspoon sugar

1 can of green pigeon peas with liquid

1 cup of medium grain rice (if in Finland, porridge rice works well with this recipe

Salt to taste


For the chicken:

2 chicken breasts

Garlic powder


Sazonador seasoning


½ can of light beer, e.g. pilsner


Use a medium size kettle and add some olive oil to cover the bottom of it. Thin layer is fine, don’t add too much. Do not turn the stove on yet.

Chop the tomato, onion, and both peppers into small dices and add into the kettle. Add the seasonings: powdered bouillon, Adobo, Sazonador, beef paste, and the tomato sauce. Cut the olives in half and add into the mixture. Add a tablespoon of the olive juice from the jar as well to intensify the olive flavor. Dice up the ham and add it into the mixture. Note that the ham you use is raw when you add it into the mixture. It will cook with the mixture but remember to dice it up before adding so it will not be in big chunks. Chop the green onion and add. If you have butternut squash available, dice that up and add it. You can also substitute the squash with sweet potato. Dice up the potato and add into the mixture. And finally add the sugar.


Ingredients ready to be mixed – love the colors of Arroz con gandules y pollo.Ingredients ready to be mixed – love the colors of Arroz con gandules y pollo

Now when everything is in the kettle, mix everything together really well and turn on the heat to medium. Keep on stirring until it starts to slightly simmer. Make sure that it simmers only lightly, and let it simmer for approximately 10 minutes, without stirring in between. After 10 minutes, add the can of pigeon peas, including the juice. Mix well and then add the rice. Mix the rice really well with everything. The rice has to take the color so the rice will get all the delicious flavor.

In this point, taste the food, and add some salt or Adobo if needed.

Taste testing – best part of cooking Arroz con gandules y pollo.
Taste testing – best part of cooking Arroz con gandules y pollo.

Now, add some water to it, but not too much; just a little bit to cover everything. Bring it to simmer slowly, on medium heat, and do not stir the mixture. Cover with a lid. The key is to watch it, so it won’t boil too fast, and do not to stir it. Once done, there will be part of the rice sticking into the bottom of the kettle, and that is part of the dish, and happens to also be my husband’s favorite part of it ;).

This takes about 10 to 15 minutes more, depending a bit on your kettle and stove as well. Keep on watching the mixture and once water gets down, when you don’t see it anymore, stir everything together. Turn the heat down to low. There should still be water at the bottom of the kettle, and we want the rice to infuse the remaining water, without burning the rice too much (again, there will be some rice sticking to the bottom, but you don’t want it to burn).

After stirring, cover, keep the heat on the lowest setting and let it sit for 5 to max 10 minutes. Stir lightly to see if the water has infused into the rice, and once it has, the rice is ready to eat.

Instructions to make the same recipe with chicken:

Cut the chicken breast into pieces and season with Adobo, Sazonador seasoning and garlic powder.

Add some butter into a pan, turn the heat to high, and cook the chicken roughly 2 minutes per side. Pour in some of the beer, covering the bottom of the pan but do not cover the chicken entirely. Put the lid on, turn the heat to medium, and cook half-way done; about 10 minutes. Once almost cooked, set the pan aside to wait to be added to the rice mixture.

Usually my husband starts the chicken first, and while it cooks, he chops the veggies into the pan.

Otherwise follow the instructions above, however, after adding the peas and the rice, instead of adding extra water, add some of the beer into the mixture. Again, do not add too much, just to cover everything. Check the flavor, add salt if needed, and cook the same way as the recipe above.

Buen Provecho – Hyvää ruokahalua!

Arroz con gandules y pollo - Rice with green peas – Ready to eat!
Arroz con gandules y pollo – Rice with green peas – Ready to eat!