Congri is traditionally made with red beans in some Latin American countries and black beans in Cuba. The difference between congri and your basic black beans and rice dish is that everything here is cooked together. When the beans are served on top of or next to white rice the dish is known as Moros y Cristianos, in reference to the Medieval clashes between Islamic Moors and Christian Spaniards. As you'll see when making this recipe, the result is what looks like a bowl of black rice with black beans.
cuban-style black beans & rice (congri)
Congri is a staple of the Cuban diet. It's fluffier and drier than Moros y Cristianos, which is why I love adding bacon to it!
I made it here the most simple way, but feel free to add bacon or pork or any small vegetable you like to the base.
4 slices bacon or cooked pork
1 cup bell pepper chopped, any color
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 15-0z can black beans
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. cumin
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium Dutch oven or similar sized pot cook bacon in medium to low heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and don't discard the fat.
Turn up the heat to medium high. Add peppers, onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. (This “sofrito” is the base of many Cuban dishes.)
Add rice, beans, water, cumin, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the rice absorbs most of the water. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for another 20 minutes without peeking in. Turn off the heat. Let it sit for a few minutes before uncovering and serving.
Fluff with a fork. Chop up the bacon and stir it into the rice.