I’m always looking for shortcuts to meals during the week. A few years back I started marinating meats and chicken when I purchased them. This was incredibly helpful after a long day of work not to mention it infused the meat/chicken with so much flavor! For some reason I stopped doing this, but now with twins in tow and going back to work soon I must find a way to simplify our weeknight meals without sacrificing flavor. Give yourself a hand during the week, once you purchase your meats simply season and separate them; place in freezer bags, label each bag with the meat and marinade and freeze. Be creative, Italian, BBQ, garlic, teriyaki, etc… Each flavor will encourage a different meal and best of all you simply defrost and cook! The hard part is done, not to mention the meat will be full of flavor since it has been marinating for a while! A great benefit is being able to portion out your meats especially if you buy in bulk. This is helpful if you’re cooking for one or ten.
Whether you call it arroz con guandules, morro con guandu or arroz con guandu it’s all the same. In Panama we make this rice often for parties or big events or just because. Guandu in English is called pidgeon peas, not exactly sure why, but it’s what their called. Don’t let the name fool you. Goya sales them and it’s the brand I use when making this rice. Guandu resembles a cross between a lentil and pea more or less. Give this rice a try, you’ll be happy you did!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or bacon fat (bacon fat gives the rice extra flavor)
- 1/2 onion finley chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 can pidgeon peas (Goya brand)
- 1 Tbsp of sofrito, optional
- 3-4 stems of cilantro
- 2 cups rice
- 1 cup water or chicken broth
- Salt to taste
- Banana leaf, optional
In a pot, add the oil or bacon fat and onions. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes then add the sofrito (if using), garlic and pidgeon peas. Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes over medium heat.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the rice, water, cilantro and salt to taste. Allow everything to come to a boil; once the water begins to boil and is almost evaporated reduce the heat to low. If using the banana leaf place it on top of the rice and cover. Cook for 20-25 minutes without removing the lid. Removing the lid causes steam to escape which in turn causes the rice not to cook all the way.
Once the rice is done, carefully lift the lid and remove the banana leaf. You can also remove the cilantro stems if you wish, I personally love cilantro so I leave mine in. Fluff with a fork and enjoy with a delicious chicken fricassee or pernil! Buen provecho!
Tasty Additions: Feel free to add coconut milk to make “Arroz con coco y Guandu” this is delicious and will transport you to the caribbean!
The rice pictured below had Sazon Goya added to it, which is what gives it the color (it’s served with pernil and potato salad).