Cuban-style and Nicaraguan-style

[These recipes were provided by Sim Aberson <>. That's him doing all the talking below, too.]

The first recipes below are for Moros y Cristianos, "Moors and Christians." There seems to be some controversy over what is true moros. Some just use black beans ladled over rice, others saying they are cooked together in a "salad." Further down are recipes for standard black beans, and for gallo pinto. I can't seem to find my recipe for congri, but it's similar to the Nicaraguan gallo pinto.

This has gotten me thinking about Thanksgiving. I just found my recipes for roast turkey adobo (rub adobo under the skin the night before), boniato gratin, a datil pepper cranberry sauce, some moros, and, of course, key lime pie for dessert. Hmmmm ...

Moros y Cristianos

Method 1



Soak the beans in cold water for no less than four hours in a large pot. Make sure the beans are covered by at least three inches of water.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the sofrito and seasonings. Bring to a boil and skim off foam.

Reduce the heat, cover and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for one hour. Add water to keep the beans submerged. Remove the onion, garlic, bay leaves, and bell pepper and discard.

Sofrito: Brown the bacon in a frying pan over medium heat. Pour off the fat.

Add olive oil and remaining sofrito ingredients, cooking over medium heat until just beginning to brown, about three minutes. Stir the sofrito into the beans, along with the seasonings. Continue simmmering until beans are very soft, about 20 minutes. Correct the seasonings to taste before serving. Pour over rice.

Method 2

Use the same ingredients. Place the beans in a rice cooker, and cover with three inches of water. Soak for four hours or overnight.

Add the ingredients for the black beans, including rice, and cook for 1-1.5 hours, adding water when necessary. Prepare the sofrito as above, and add that and the ingredients ten to twenty minutes before serving. The rice will be black, and the beans not soupy, as in the above recipe.

Gallo Pinto

This is red beans and rice. I've lost my recipe for the similar congri. Gallo pinto is Nicaraguan, congri is Cuban.

Soak the beans in a pot in cold water covered by at least three inches at least four hours.

Drain the beans and place in a large pot with two quarts of water. Pin the bay leaf to the onion with the clove, and add to the beans. Add the garlic. Gradually bring the beans to a boil, skimming off any foam.

Reduce the heat and gently simmer the beans, uncovered, until tender, about 1 - 1.5 hours, adding salt to taste during the last ten minutes. Drain the beans and refresh under cold water. Discard the onion.

Bring 2.5 cups of water and 1 tsp salt to boil in a large heave saucepan. Add the rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer the rice until tender, about 18 minutes. Let the rice sit, covered, five minutes, and fluff with a fork.

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and thoroughly brown over medium heat, about five minutes.

Add the beans and rice and cook over medium heat until the rice is lightly browned and the mixture is very aromatic, about five minutes. Correct the seasonings before serving.

Standard black beans

Soak the beans in a large heavy pot covered by at least three inches of water for at least four hours.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam.

Reduce the heat ang gently simmer the beans, uncovered, until tender, 1-1.25 hours. Add water to keep beans submerged.

Season with salt and pepper during last ten minutes of cooking. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water. Remove and discard the vegetables and the bouquet garni. Pour over cooked rice.

The secret to keeping black beans black is to cook them in the water in which they've soaked. Enjoy!


[Return to the Culinary World Tour Page]
[Go to the Recipe Home Page]
[Go to The Gumbo Pages' Home Page]

Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)