Pigeon peas or gandules are available at Latin American grocery stores, usually both dried and canned. Dried need to be soaked overnight, then simmered; canned, of course, are easier. Substitute black beans if necessary. Achiote (annatto) comes in a paste, as seeds, or sometimes as a ground powder. For this recipe, seeds are best, as they are easy to infuse with vegetable oil. Add 1 teaspoon of annatto seeds to the vegetable oil and cook over low heat for 10 minutes; strain. The seeds add color to the oil and give the rice a slightly peppery, cinnamony tang. You can buy pigeon peas and annatto at Hi-Lo Foods, 450 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-522-6364; Christina’s, 1255 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-576-2090; or go to www.latinmerchant.com.
|4||strips bacon, chopped|
|1||clove garlic, chopped|
|1||small green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped|
|1||tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro|
|1 1/2||tablespoons vegetable oil infused with achiote (annatto)|
|10||pimento-stuffed olives, halved|
|1||tablespoon tomato paste|
|1 1/8||cups long-grain white rice|
|1||can (15 ounces) pigeon peas (with liquid from can)|
|1 1/2||cups water|
2. Add the vegetable oil, olives, and tomato paste. Stir well.
3. Add the rice, pigeon peas with their liquid, and let the mixture cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
4. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 18 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add more water to the pan during cooking, if necessary.
Adapted from Amelia Banchs