Asopao de Gandules
Ingredients Click Picture to Enlarge
1 lb. fresh gandules*
1 qts. salted water
1 c. medium rice
3-4 tbsp. sofrito*
2 oz. lean cooking ham
1 1/2 tbsp. achiote oil
8-10 Manzanilla olives
1 tsp. alcaparrado-capers
1/2 tsp. whole dired oregano
1 tomato chopped
6-8 culantro leaves or cilantro
1/4 c. tomato sauce

*See my recipe in Basic Cooking Section
*You may also use a 14 oz. package of frozen pigeon peas
Directions
In a saucepan, place the fresh gandules and add water to cover approximately 1/2 inch above gandules. Stir a little and wait to see if some come floating to the top. If some float to the top, throw them away for those are not good to cook.

Drain the gandules and rinse them again.

Place the gandules in a large deep soup pot, add the water with salt and cover the pot with a lid.

Cook on medium heat for about an hour or until the gandules are soft.

When the gandules are done, drain them but keep this water for later use.

Now after rinsing the rice, soak it in water to cover while we prepare the rest.

Saute the ham and salted pork in a deep heavy pot.

Bring the heat down to low and add the sofrito and saute for 5-8 minutes to blend the flavors well.

Add the capers, olives, rinsed rice, and gandules and stir to introduce the flavors again.

Now measure the liquid you saved after boiling the gandules to make 2 1/2 quarts., even if you have to add a little water.

Add the liquid to the rice mixture with gandules, add the crushed whole oregano and stir well.

Bring the heat up to medium and cook the soup uncovered for 20-30 minutes.

The soup will thicken as it cooks. Remove from the stove when it starts to thicken.

Serve as soon as possible with pan de manteca or sobao on the side.
Tips
The soup will continue to thicken if you leave it on the heated stove, so remove it as soon as it starts to thicken.

Store the left overs in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Add a special touch to the asopao and add green plantain balls to the soup when it starts to boil.

Serve with pan de manteca or pan de agua. Don't be shy and soak the bread in the soup.

Try the sliced avocado in the soup (when you are ready to eat the soup) and a few drops of pique (hot sauce) in the soup for a great taste.
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