In my family we love beans and rice but I’d never tried pigeon peas before this summer. These little legumes are somewhere between beans and peas in taste and texture. And turns out there’s a different pigeon peas and rice recipe for every island in the Caribbean. This one gets a nod from Puerto Rico from its use of sofrito. We like our rice brown, but this recipe will work with white basmati as well.


Pigeon Peas and Rice


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander
  • 2 cups brown basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons sofrito
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 can pigeon peas


  1. Heat the olive oil in a wide pan. Slice the bacon into 1/4-inch pieces and cook for five minutes over medium heat. Do not crisp bacon.
  2. Grind spices in mortar and pestle (or use ground spices) and add to pan, toasting for a couple minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring together, until rice toasts, another 5 minutes.
  3. Add water, sofrito, bay leaf, salt, and thyme, combine, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer covered for 35 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  4. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Stir in pigeon peas and cook until until the peas are heated, about 2 minutes.



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