International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Moros y Cristianos

Moros y cristianos Cuban black beans and rice

(Cuban black beans and rice)

Image Creative Commons by F_A

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Moros y cristianos is Spanish for "Moors and Christians," and it refers to the dark black beans against the whiteness of the rice. The combination of rice and beans is a popular one throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.

Congrí, or congrí oriental, is a variation using red beans that is popular in eastern Cuba. The red bean version shows the influence of nearby Haiti, where the dish is known as riz et pois, or diri ak pwa in French Creole dialect.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Onion, finely chopped -- 1
  • Bell pepper, finely chopped -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 3 to 4 cloves
  • Tomato sauce -- 1/2 cup
  • Black beans, cooked -- 2 cups
  • Thyme --1 teaspoon
  • Oregano -- 2 teaspoons
  • Bay leaf -- 1
  • Rice -- 1 cup
  • Water or stock -- 1 3/4 cups
  • Red wine vinegar -- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomato sauce, beans and herbs and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to meld flavors.
  3. Stir in the rice, stock or water and vinegar and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let set covered for another 5 to 10 minutes. Then stir lightly with a fork and serve.

Moros y Cristianos Variations

  • Congrí: Use red kidney beans in place of the black beans.
  • Haitian Diri ak Pwa: Use butter instead of olive oil and red kidney beans in place of black beans. A little hot chile pepper (Scotch bonnet) is also usually added. Eliminate the vinegar.
  • Dominican Arroz con Habichuelas: Use small red beans in place of the black beans. If you are making habichuelas for the Dominican dish la bandera, cook the beans and rice separately.
  • Substitute pimentos for the chopped bell pepper if you like. Add at the same time as the tomato sauce.
  • Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin to the onions as you sauté if you like.

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