This recipe is delicious. It was given to me by my dear friend Anna's mother. They are from Ponce, Puerto Rico. It is the national dish of Puerto Rico. Arroz con Gandules. I love Puerto Rican food and over the years have acquired many recipes from dear friends from Puerto Rico. If you get a chance try it. I assure you it is wonderful. Served with a salad and perhaps some Fried plantains or tostones it is a complete meal as it has the meat already in it. You can find my recipes for fried plantains and tostones posted. Be sure to make with pork loin as it is very tender and reduces the cook time for this great dish. Enjoy
1Over a low flame first take the cup of the oil, add the annato seeds or achiote seeds and heat until just shimmering. Be careful not to use a high flame as the seeds will burn easly. The oil will turn a bright orange color as the seeds give up their color and flavor. Shut off the flame and strain the seeds from the oil. Discard the seeds. If you cant find annato or achiote seeds use ground annato or achiote powder, pour a tablespoon into the oil and slowly heat until the oil turns a bright orange color. Next strain oil in a lined wire mesh strainer fitted with a large coffee filter. Set the strainer over a pot or bowl and pour the oil into the filter little by little. With a spoon I move the annato or achiote powder all around to let the oil pass through the filter. When done discard the filter and keep the oil in a covered container to cook and flavor Latino dishes. Achiote or annato flavored oil is used alot in Puerto Rican and Mexican recipes. You can also use a clean cheese cloth, to strain seed or annato powder from the oil.
2Have your pork loin pieces at room temperature. Season the meat with garlic powder, salt, black pepper and a little oregano. In a heavy skillet add about a 1/4 cup of the annato or achiote flavored oil when hot (not to hot) add the meat and sear lightly on all sides. When the meat is browned all over remove from the pot with a slotted spoon into another dish.
3In the same pot you seared your meat add diced onion, garlic, bell pepper, cilantro or culantro and a little more flavored annato oil. Saute until the veggies are limp next add the wine, seasonings, oregano, salt pepper, Goya Sazon packet and tomato sauce. Continue to saute. Then add one can of pigeon peas, drained of all the liquid and continue to saute for about another minute. Now return the meat to the pot add one cup of broth or water and stir well to incorporate everything and bring up the heat to medium high
4Next rinse your rice in cool water twice to remove excess starch strain all the water and pour into the meat mixture. Add the remaining broth or water stir well. Taste the cooking liquid to see if there is enough seasonings, salt. Cover with a tight lid lower the flame to simmer and cook rice for 30 to 40 minutes. When time has elapsed, uncover fluff with a fork and serve. Enjoy
5Note: In Mexico annato seeds are kept in a container and hot lard is poured over them. When cooks are going to prepare their meals the lard is melted down and the strained lard is poured right into a fry pan or pot. Annato flavored oil is kept already prepared for cooking.