The Rice with Green Pigeon Peas is our traditional rice served during the Christmas Holidays. We celebrate Christmas for at least 45 straight days (Thanksgiving through Octavitas) in Puerto Rico. The Pigeons Peas provide a unique taste to this dish along with our sofrito! How we love our Pigeon Peas!!!!!
Traditionally, this rice dish is usually prepared by sautéing all the herbs and vegetables in annatto oil to add color and flavor. However, today we can prepare this dish with seasoning envelopes that contain a combination of annatto, herbs and spices for color and flavor. The seasoning envelopes with coriander and annatto are now sold at regular supermarkets.
For this recipe, I chose to boil the herbs and vegetables in water to provide another option on how to make the rice with green pigeon peas. Therefore, whether you sauté (traditional method) or boil the herbs and vegetables, I find that both cooking methods produce the same flavorful quality.
We normally use the short or medium grain rice for our rice recipes. However, after studying the various types of rice, I use the long-grain rice because it tends to separate when cooked for a perfectly fluffy rice dish. I still use the short or medium grain rice (tends to stick together when cooked) for our popular rice pudding.
A Little Bit of History!
The green pigeon peas were introduced to Puerto Rico from West Africa. The West Africans also brought their rice (Orzya Glaberrima) to the island. They cultivated the African rice near the wetlands and marshy areas located in the Northern coastal section of Puerto Rico. The Spaniards brought the animals to Puerto Rico. The meat that we tend to mostly consume is pork. Because the pigs were better able to adapt to their new tropical environment compared to the other animals, they reproduced many little piggies. As a result, we consume a lot of pork meat in Puerto Rico!
Let’s Start Preparing This Rice Dish!
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
Pour 1 can (15 ounces) of green pigeon peas with liquid, 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or annatto oil), ½ teaspoon salt (low sodium) and 2 minced garlic cloves.
Some individuals prefer to prepare this dish with annatto oil. Click on this link to learn how to prepare Annatto Oil.
Add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce and 2 seasoning envelopes with coriander and annatto (see note below).
Click on this link for more information on how to create a healthier version of your own Special Blend of Seasonings. However, omit the seasoning envelopes if you are preparing this dish with annatto oil.
Let’s continue by adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of sofrito and 3 sprigs of chopped cilantro.
Sofrito is the basic condiment that gives the Puerto Rican cuisine its unique flavor and aroma. Click on the links to learn how to prepare a large batch of Sofrito or How to Make Sofrito for a Single Meal.
We can now place 2 tablespoons of capers and 10 pimento green-stuffed olives into the saucepan. Stir all the ingredients until well blended.
We Are Ready For the Ham and Rice!
Place ½ cup to 1 cup of diced lean ham into the saucepan. Stir well. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, omit the lean ham.
Bring the liquid to a boil before adding the rice.
We are ready to add 3 cups of long-grain white rice to the saucepan. Stir rice well into liquid. When the liquid starts to boil again, reduce heat to a simmer.
Cover saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 15-minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
It is Time to Turn the Rice!
After 15 minutes of simmering, the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
Turning the rice. Insert a spoon to the bottom inside edge of the saucepan.
Bring the bottom rice to the top.
Place the rice near the center of saucepan.
Repeat this process around the inside edges of saucepan. We just finished turning the rice!
In Puerto Rico, we normally cover the rice with a banana leaf. Of course, this is optional. Cover saucepan with lid and simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
The Rice with Green Pigeon Peas is Done!
Remove banana leaf after 30 minutes of simmering to check if the rice is tender.
The delicious and tasty rice is fluffy and tender. I normally turn the rice again before serving. The Rice with Green Pigeon Peas is served with our pork shoulder roast (pernil) and pasteles (our version of tamales). This is our traditional Christmas Holiday dinner.
Click on the button below to watch my YouTube video on How to Prepare Rice with Green Pigeon Peas!
Recipe and Nutritional Facts!Print
The Rice with Green Pigeon Peas is our traditional rice served during the Christmas Holidays. A well seasoned rice dish that is loaded with tropical flavors!
- 3 cups water
- 1 can (15 ounces) green pigeon peas with liquid
- ½ teaspoon salt (low sodium)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 minced garlic gloves
- 2 tablespoon tomato sauce
- 2 seasoning envelopes with coriander and annatto
- 3 tablespoons sofrito
- 3 fresh sprigs cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 10 pimento green-stuffed olives
- ½ cup to 1 cup lean diced ham
- 3 cups long-grain white rice
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
- Add all the ingredients except for the rice. Stir until all the ingredients are well blended.
- Bring the liquid to a boil. Add rice and stir rice well into liquid.
- Reduce heat to simmer when the liquid starts to boil again.
- Cover saucepan with tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
- Turn the rice. Insert a spoon to the bottom inside edge of the saucepan. Bring the bottom rice to the top.
- Place a banana leaf over rice (optional). Cover with lid and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Remove banana leaf. Serve with roasted pork shoulder (pernil) and pasteles (our version of tamales).
Some individuals prefer to prepare this dish with annatto oil then omit the seasoning envelopes with coriander and annatto. Visit food blogging post on how to prepare annatto oil.
- Category: Rice
- Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Keywords: Rice with Green Pigeon Peas