This authentic Caribbean dish is a Puerto Rican favorite, traditionally served at holidays and celebrations. The deliciously crunchy, caramelized crust of rice that forms on the bottom of the pan while cooking is referred to as “pegao,” and is considered a special treat.

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 120 min

Total time: 125 min

Rice and Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules)
Copyright Recipe © 2015 Woodland Foods


Makes 8 servings

  • 2/3 Cup Pigeon Peas

  • Water

  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

  • 8 Strips Bacon, chopped

  • 1/2 Cup Onion, finely chopped

  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped

  • 2 Cups Parboiled White Rice

  • 10 Ounces Canned Diced Tomatoes With Green Chiles

  • 1 Teaspoon Mexican Oregano

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Sea Salt Flakes

  • 1/8 Teaspoon Achiote Powder

  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

  • 4 Cups Water

  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped, for garnish


  1. Rinse peas and place in stock pot with enough fresh water to cover by a few inches. Soak peas for at least 8 hours or overnight.

  2. Drain peas and refill with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until peas are just tender, about 90 minutes. Drain.

  3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Fry bacon until crisp. Add onion and cilantro, and cook for 5 minutes, until onion softens.

  4. Add rice, tomatoes, oregano, cumin, salt, achiote powder and cooked peas. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes.

  5. Stir in tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro.