5 For $20 Challenge: Authentic Puerto Rican Chuletas and Arroz Con Gandules

To close the chapter on our 5 for $20 Challenge, I decided to take the package of pork chops and, with a little bit of assistance from B’s bestie Ronni, got the recipe for Chuletas (Pork Chops) and Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas).

I’ve written previously about my version (adapted from one I cajoled out of B’s mother) of this dish; to be completely honest, this one is far better than mine.

Pork Chops and Arroz Con Gandules

Note that to properly prepare this version of Arroz con Gandules, you need to use a thick-walled caldero; nothing else will allow the coveted golden-brown pegao (a layer of deep-brown, crisped rice) to form in the bottom of the pot. If you wish to purchase one, you can find it at Amazon through the link below.

Chuletas

INGREDIENTS

2 pork chops (I used boneless loin chops, but bone-in center cut loin chops work best)
Goya Sazon con culantro y achiote, to taste
Goya Adobo con pimienta (red cap), to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray pan lightly with nonstick spray.
  2. Season the chops lightly on both sides with sazon and adobo. Place them in the pan.
  3. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on thickness, or until internal temperature reaches 165F. Serve with Arroz con Gandules.

Arroz con Gandules

INGREDIENTS

4 C rice (I use medium-grain; long-grain will work as well)
1 packet Goya caldo de pollo (chicken bouillon)
2 packets Goya Sazon con culantro y achiote
6 oz Salchichon (summer sausage will also work), sliced then quartered
15 oz can gandules (pigeon peas), drained
12 oz jar of Goya recaito
sufficient canola oil to coat rice (about 1/4 C)
2 T tomato paste or 1 C tomato sauce
4 C water if using tomato paste or 3 C water if using tomato sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine the first seven ingredients in a thick-walled caldero on medium-high heat. Stir well to coat rice evenly. Allow the rice and seasonings to warm up for about a minute.
  2. Add either 2 T tomato paste and 4 C water, or 1 C tomato sauce and 3 C water, to caldero. Stir well and raise heat to high, bringing contents of pot to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook until liquid is nearly completely absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  4. Turn bottom to top. Cook another 20 minutes, until a nice layer of pegao has formed at the bottom of the caldero. Serve with chuletas or roast pernil.