Rice and Peas/Arroz Con Gandules

This dish makes up one of the best known dishes of Jamaica, Jerk Chicken,Rice and Peas.The traditional’peas’or beans to use is a type of beans called Gungo Peas/Pigeon Peas.
There are many variations of this dish in and around The Caribbean,and South America eg:Moros y Cristianos(Cuba),Diri et Pois Coles(Haiti),Cook Up Rice(Guyana). It is aromatic,flavoursome, and suprisingly, if done correctly, has complex flavours.

INGREDIENTS

500 grams of Gungo Peas/Pigeon Peas, soaked overnight for 8 hours OR 2 Cans of Gungo Peas/Pigeon Peas.

1 Tablespoon of Dried Thyme OR Mixed Herbs/Small Bunch of Thyme
1 Bell/Sweet Pepper(Optional)
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Half a block of Coconut Cream/1 Can of Coconut Milk
100 grams-250 grams of Pigtails/Salted Pork(Optional)-Some specialist butchers will have these.

2 Bay Leaves
2 Clove of Crushed Garlic
1 Sliced Onion
1 Tablespoon of Crushed Pimento/Allspice Berries

500 grams of Long Grain Rice

METHOD

Put the peas into a pot of water, after draining them of the water that they were soaked in. Add a little salt and the pigtails/salted pork(Omit for those who cannot eat pork),and if using a pressure cooker, pressure them for around half an hour. If boiling, boil for 2-3 hours, of which during this time add the bay,onion, and other seasonings(Except coconut milk)including the pigtails(Omit for those who cannot eat pork.).

If cooking for those who eat pork,add them after 30 minutes of boiling the peas. Add the coconut milk during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

If using a pressure cooker, check that the peas have cooked, and transfer the peas to a pot. Add the seasonings including the coconut milk, and cook for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the rice(See the White Rice Recipe for how to prepare rice),and add to the pot. Mix the ingredients together,so that there is equal distribution of rice to the other ingredients. Make sure that the liquid covers the rice by at least one inch.

Leave it to bubble until there is only a little liquid left in the pot and that the rice is starting to become tender. Then lower the heat, and leave it to steam for around 10-15 minutes, or until the rice is tender, and there is no liquid left. If some grains have not cooked yet, pour a little water over the pot and lift the grains using a fork to separate the grains, by gently making an upwards stirring motion.. Almost like raking grass. After this, simmer on a low heat until the liquid has been absorbed. Serve hot, and with roasted/jerk chicken, curried goat,or vegetarian dish of choice. Enjoy!!

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