Asopao de Gandules
(Puerto Rican rice and pigeon pea stew)
Asopao is a Puerto Rican word for a stew thickened with rice, and asopaos of many kinds are very popular in Puerto Rican cuisine. Asopao de gandules is a nice vegetarian version.
4 to 6 servings
- Rice -- 1 1/2 cups
- Water or stock -- 6 cups
- Oil -- 1/4 cup
- Onion, chopped or sliced -- 1
- Green or red bell peppers, chopped or sliced --3
- Garlic, minced -- 2 or 3cloves
- Oregano, dried -- 2 teaspoons
- Tomatoes, chopped -- 2 cups
- Pigeon peas (gandules), cooked -- 2 cups
- Pimento-stuffed olives -- 1/4 cup
- Capers, rinsed -- 1 tablespoon
- Cilantro, chopped -- 1/2 bunch
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Mix the rice and water together in a large bowl and let it soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the onions and peppers and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and oregano and sauté for another 1 or 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and simmer to cook down somewhat, 5 to 7 minutes. Then stir in the rice and its soaking water and the pigeon peas, olives, capers, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. Add water as necessary to keep asopao stew-like. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Asopao de Gandules Variations
- Saute 1 cup of chopped ham with the onions and peppers if you like. Or add cut up chicken pieces for a more substantial stew.
- Add 1 tablespoon achiote oil if you like for a pleasing color and some extra flavor.