ARROZ CONGRI (CUBAN RICE AND BLACK BEANS)

Everywhere you go in the Caribbean you find dishes made with rice and black beans. Each island has a different name for this dish and a few different spices but the basic ingredients are the same. I had this dish everyday while we were in Cuba and was very happy for it to be my main entrée. The Cubans call the dish Rice Congri or “Moros y Cristianos” (Moors and Christians); this name stems from when the Moors invaded Spain in the eighth century. You can do a lot with this recipe and I encourage you to try all the versions found all over the world.

Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper, chopped
  • Small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 15 oz can black beans (don't drain)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch oregano
  • Salt and pepper for taste
     
Directions
  • In a heavy medium sized pot, heat oil on medium heat.
  • Add onions, peppers and garlic and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add rice, beans, water, cumin, bay leaf, oregano and salt and pep- per.
  • Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice absorbs most of the water and just barely skims the top of the rice.
  • Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minute (don't peek). Make sure you have a good seal on your cover, as the steam cooks the rice.
  • After 20 minutes, shut flame off and let it sit, covered another 5 minutes (don’t open the lid).