Arroz Y Gandules

What are arroz y gandules and why are you writing about them? Arroz Y Gandules is a Puerto Rican dish commonly made at Christmas time, basically it's rice and beans. During the holidays my mother always made arroz y gandules to celebrate my father's Puerto Rican heritage even though she was not from Puerto Rico, and had only visited a few times. My mother was a fantastic cook, and always wanted to make everyone happy, so she made Puerto Rican food for my father, and "regular" American food for us and anybody else who was joining us. So there were tostones ( fried crispy green plantains) , arroz y gandules, pernil ( roast pork shoulder), and mashed potatoes, a turkey, stuffing, canned cranberry, you name it. My mother would get up before daylight to start cooking, I can still see her standing at the stove Sanka in hand ( it was the seventies). It's the holiday season and arroz y gandules is on my mind, it was the first thing I asked my mother how to make, this was way before becoming a chef. She didn't have a recipe and even laughed at me. She had learned how to make it from my paternal grandmother on one her first visits to Puerto Rico, my mother was also a natural cook, and rarely if ever kept recipes.  She of course put her own spin on it, but the components were always the same, sofrito ( peppers, onion, garlic, tomatoes), lard infused with annatto seed, usually pork of some kind, rice, gandules ( pigeon peas) and olives ( always goya). I usually make it around this time just to remind myself of where I came from. If you want a recipe drop me an email mark@verachicago.com, I can probably throw one together. 

Photo by InkkStudios/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by InkkStudios/iStock / Getty Images