Christmas time in Puerto Rico means lots of family, music and fun. What's on the holiday menu? An array of festive rice dishes, roasted pork and tropical drinks spiked with rum produced on the island.
The myriad of dishes are a testament to the island's historic blend of Spanish, African and Taíno cultures (Taínos were the native inhabitants of the Caribbean island). traditional Puerto Rican cuisine is renowned for its flavours and dishes which include pork shoulder, Arroz con Gandules, green bananas and pigeon peas all of which make delicious Puerto Rican Christmas dishes.
If you can't make it to the Island of Enchantment this season here are five traditional Puerto Rican Christmas recipes you can prepare at home. You'll have to try them all!
5 Must-Try Puerto Rican Christmas Recipes
Arroz con Gandules
This flavorful rice dish features pigeon peas, which are beloved in Puerto Rico. To give it a special touch some cooks cover the rice with a plantain leaf so it can capture its aroma while it cooks.
Pasteles are similar to Mexican tamales but they are prepared with plantains instead of corn. They are filled with a blend of pork and potatoes (sometimes chickpeas) and are wrapped in plantain leaves.
Coquito is an exquisite eggnog with a tropical twist: it is coconut based. The blend of coconut, cinnamon and rum makes this holiday drink a winner. Learn how to make it.
What is Puerto Rican pernil? Juicy, tender, oven-roasted pork shoulder rubbed with garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil. It's not Christmas until the pernil is on the table. Try this easy recipe.
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Arroz Con Dulce
This irresistible Puerto Rican Christmas dish is a coconut rice pudding flavored with ginger, cinnamon, raisins and cloves. Here is an easy recipe.
Hungry for more? Learn how to make tostones, twice-fried plantains that are another Puerto Rican delicacy.
In the video below, Michelin star chef Jose Andres discusses the richness of Puerto Rican cuisine and the road to the nation's recovery after natural disaster.
Below, Anthony Bourdain goes old school Puerto Rican in The Bronx, Parts Unknown