It’s been a very long time since I last posted a recipe on this blog. As you all know, the last year has been very crazy and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be slowing down anytime soon. I’ve been busy cooking and finding new recipes and just trying to do my best to make it through this awful time.
I know that it’s been said over and over again this past year, but it bears repeating: keep your distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay away from crowds and please GET VACCINATED. The sooner more and more people get vaccinated, the sooner we can put this horrible plague behind us and get on with our lives. I know times been tough and I know that everybody just wants to go back to some semblance of normalcy, but we can’t do that safely unless a large enough percentage of the global population has gotten vaccinated. So please, do it for yourself. Do it for the world. It’s the only way we can beat this thing.
Now, on with the recipe.
I can’t tell you how much I love rice and beans. It’s just so good, and it’s good for you. All that fiber and protein are going to make you and your doctor very happy. I’ve eaten lots of rice and bean dishes, but this one is one of my favorites. Moros y Cristianos is a delicious Cuban dish of black beans and seasoned rice that may not look very appetizing, but it is so good. And once you whip up a dish for yourself, you’ll agree.
3 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup (80 g) diced onion
2/3 cup (80 g) diced green bell pepper
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 15 ounce can (420 g) black beans, liquid reserved (you should have around 2/3 or ¾ cup [160-180 mL])
enough water added to the bean broth to equal 2 cups (480 mL)
salt to taste
¼ tsp black pepper
1 cup (190-200 g) long grain rice
Pour the olive oil into a large deep pot. Turn the heat on medium-high, spread the oil around the pan and once shimmering, add the diced onion and bell pepper along with the minced garlic. Once everything has come to a steady sizzle, lower heat to medium and sauté the vegetables for three minutes, taking care to stir them about once per minute.
After three minutes, add the cumin, oregano, black pepper and brown sugar (if using) and stir. Cook for about a minute, until the mixture has become fragrant.
Empty the water from the black bean can into a measuring cup. You should have around 2/3 or ¾ cup (160-180 mL). Add additional water into the measuring cup until you have 2 cups (480 mL).
Pour the liquid into the pot and turn the heat back to medium-high. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, add the rice along with the salt and stir. Wait until the water comes to a boil again, then cover the pot and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes.
Once 10 minutes have passed, remove the lid and stir the rice. At this point, you’ll notice the water has gone down at least by half. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
At this point, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Hey! I thought this was supposed to be a recipe for rice with black beans! Where’s the beans?” No worries; the beans will be making an appearance very soon. Whenever I make any kind of rice or grain based dish, I always like to add my beans near the very end of cooking, especially when dealing with canned beans. Since canned beans are already cooked, there’s really no reason to throw them in early on. Otherwise you’ll end up with mushy, broken beans. Yuck. xP
Anyway, back to the recipe.
After 10 minutes, remove the lid and add the black beans. Stir, cover the pot and remove from heat. Allow it to rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
I was first introduced to Moros y Cristianos when I bought a bag Cuban black rice and beans from a local grocery store about five years ago. I can remember eating it very often in the past, but for some reason I stopped eating it. Why exactly, I can’t remember.
Fast forward to three years ago. This blog was still in its infancy and I was researching recipes night and day like a madman, hopping from country to country in search of whatever I could cook up and present to all of my potential readers. It was then that I stumbled upon Cuba and instantly felt an old passion rekindle. As I scrolled down that Wikipedia article of Cuban foods, I came across Moros y Cristianos, the very same rice dish that eaten years before. I made a mental note of the name and vowed to someday make some for myself.
And then… Nothing happened, at least for another two years.
Let’s jump ahead now to February of last year. I had just finished studying the Bay of Pigs Invasion and once again found myself looking back into Cuban food. It was then that I stumbled across a reference to Moros y Cristianos and decided it was high time to make it.
I found a recipe over at <a href=”https://www.goya.com/en/recipes/moros-y-cristianos”> Goya Foods’ website </a>and gave it a try. It was delicious, but there was one thing that bothered me: in that recipe, you put the black beans in at the beginning of cooking. By the time the rice was cooked, the beans were mushy! If there’s one thing I hate, it’s mushy, overcooked beans! Thus began my quest to create what I felt was the perfect Moros y Cristianos recipe.
Over the course of last spring and summer, I tweaked my Moros y Cristianos recipe. I made a few adjustments, removed the vinegar, bay leaves, and adobo seasoning, and I determined that the best time to add the beans to the rice was at the very end of cooking to prevent the grossness of mushy, overcooked beans.
And, at long last, the recipe here was born!
While moros y cristianos is traditionally made with white rice, you can make it with brown rice if you wish. – If you want to use brown rice, you need 3 cups (720 mL) of total liquid. When cooking the rice, cook covered on medium low heat for 22 minutes, then stir. Cook an additional 23 minutes, then add the beans leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.