Puerto Rican Arroz con Salchichas

published Jan 13, 2023
Puerto Rican Arroz con Salchichas Recipe

This versatile and delicious Puerto Rican dinner comes together with a few pantry workhorses. Don't have Vienna sausages? Swap in Spam, tinned seafood, or canned legumes.

Serves3 to 4

Makes4 cups

Prep10 minutes

Cook40 minutes to 50 minutes

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Overhead photo of Dutch oven with arroz con salchichas in it
Credit: Photo: Andrew Bui; Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich

Puerto Rican arroz con salchichas (rice with Vienna sausages) is one of my favorite pantry dishes that we ate when I was growing up — and one that I still enjoy to this day. Now more than ever, people are feeling the financial impact of grocery shopping due to inflation and the current economic climate. I’m a firm believer in having a well-stocked pantry — it’s truly a game-changer when it comes to planning a variety of dinners throughout the week while on a limited budget. And this recipe uses ingredients I always have on hand at home, which helps me avoid the need to buy additional ingredients.

Humble Vienna sausages get an upgrade with aromatic fresh sofrito (which stays stocked in my fridge and freezer), a flavorful sazón spice blend (homemade or store-bought works great — just adjust accordingly), and some depth from tomato paste. As far as the rice, I prefer using jasmine because of its flavor and fragrance, but you can use long-grain rice or whatever is on hand (adjusting the liquid ratio according to package instructions).

Let’s Talk About Tinned Meats

Tinned meats tend to get a bad rap when it comes to cooking, but these pantry workhorses are staples in many Caribbean households due to their affordability, ease of use, and variety. In Puerto Rico, tinned meats and other pantry staples are very common in our cuisine due to longstanding import restrictions like the Jones Act (a law that governs coastal trade) placed on the island by the United States. That’s an entirely different conversation to be had, but accessibility does play a large role in how our recipes are prepared and shared throughout generations of both islanders and those across the diaspora.

Credit: Photo: Andrew Bui; Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich

How to Switch Things Up

This cooking method is the foundation for other rice-forward meals that I rotate throughout the month with different pantry and fridge staples. I’ll sub in other tinned meats like corned beef or Spam, hot dogs or smoked sausages, tinned seafood like tuna or salmon, or canned beans and peas. The method stays the same for these rice dishes — just use what you have on hand! 

Don’t Worry If the Rice Sticks!

It’s important to note that most Puerto Rican rice dishes are made to have a serving of pegao, the crispy layer of rice that forms on the bottom of the pot while cooking, on the side. So when you’re making this dish and the rice sticks a little bit while stirring, that’s totally OK! The crispy, crunchy bits are called pegao because of the Spanish word pegado, which translates to stuck or glued. When scraped up, the shards are often the most coveted part of the rice when serving.

Puerto Rican Arroz con Salchichas Recipe

This versatile and delicious Puerto Rican dinner comes together with a few pantry workhorses. Don't have Vienna sausages? Swap in Spam, tinned seafood, or canned legumes.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes to 50 minutes

Makes 4 cups

Serves 3 to 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 (4.6-ounce) cans

    Vienna sausages

  • 2 tablespoons

    diced jarred pimento peppers

  • 2 tablespoons

    neutral oil, such as vegetable

  • 1/4 cup

    fresh sofrito or thawed frozen sofrito, such as La Reyna

  • 1 tablespoon

    tomato paste

  • 1

    large bay leaf

  • 2 teaspoons

    sazón seasoning, such as Badia

  • 1 cup

    jasmine rice or long-grain white rice

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Cubed avocado and fried plantains, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Drain 2 (4.6-ounce) cans Vienna sausages, reserving the canning liquid in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough water to the canning liquid to equal 1 1/2 cups total liquid. Cut the sausages crosswise into quarters. Dice jarred pimento peppers until you have 2 tablespoons.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons neutral oil in a medium Dutch oven, heavy-bottomed pot, or large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the sausages and sauté until the cut sides crisp up and start to brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Add the pimento, 1/4 cup sofrito, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 large bay leaf, and 2 teaspoons sazón seasoning. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup jasmine or long-grain rice. Cook, stirring often, until all the grains are evenly coated with the sausage and sofrito mixture and the rice smells toasted, 4 to 5 minutes.

  4. Add the reserved sausage liquid and bring to a boil, stirring often. Taste the liquid and season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed, the liquid should be well-seasoned.

  5. When the liquid is mostly evaporated (you should see little bubble pockets in the rice), reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Stir the rice and cover. Cook, stirring twice to release the rice stuck on the bottom of the pot, until the rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes total. Uncover and fluff the rice using a fork (some rice may still be stuck on the bottom, that’s okay); discard the bay leaf. Serve with cubed avocados and fried plantains if desired.

Recipe Notes

I make my own sazón spice blends to control the amount of salt I use when cooking, so if you’re using store-bought blends, make sure to taste and adjust the amount accordingly to avoid oversalting your dish. Tinned meats like Vienna sausages tend to run on the salty side, so start with a teaspoon and work your way up to your liking.

Vienna sausages: I’m a little particular about which brand of sausages I use. I grew up using and being partial to Carmela since their sausages are just chicken and not a combination of meats. If you’re able to find the green can of Carmela Vienna sausages, go with those! I have trouble finding them where I live, so I use what’s available.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.