Moro de Habichuelas Negras (Rice and Black Beans)

Just like Mami’s

As far as I’m concerned, you really can’t go wrong with rice and beans. It’s funny: it wasn’t until I was eight or nine that I became a real fan of beans, despite their being a staple in Dominican cuisine, but what can I say? I love ’em now.

Apparently a traditional Cuban dish, Moro de habichuelas negras is black beans and rice all mixed together in one pot to cook. The word “Moro” means “Moor” (think: Othello) and thus refers to the black beans. Moros y Cristianos — Moors and Christians — is another name for this dish I’m come across, cristianos referring to the white rice. What these names intimate is the history behind the Muslim-Christian encounters in Spain and North Africa, a history transported to the Caribbean and commemorated by food. In my interpretation, though, this isn’t just a story of conflict, but of ultimately merging together. Moro needs both elements to be this tasty, and as a product of the US and the Dominican Republic (a blend in its own right), I’m all for mixing.

The recipe I adapted this from says it yields four servings… maybe four HUGE servings, but I decided to keep this proportion of ingredients because this dish keeps well both in the fridge and in the freezer It microwaves really well (just sprinkle a little water on top beforehand), and is perfect for a quick lunch, part of dinner, or in a burrito. 

It also doesn’t hurt that The New York Times considers it one of its “Recipes for Health.”

Moro de Habichuelas Negras (Black beans and Rice)
Adapted from Dominican Cooking (with several changes based on years of tasting my mom’s)

4 cups white rice
2 cups cooked black beans (going with a can of Goya makes this faster, but you can also follow my own Dominican bean recipe)
6 cups water
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
a few slices of green bell pepper
pinch of oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 Tablespoon salt (to taste)
Canola oil

1. If you aren’t using a can of beans, cook them a la Dominicana. I usually try and make a big batch and freeze whatever I’m not going to use since it does take a while. Skip step 2 if you use the recipe I linked to.
2. In a large pot, heat about 1 Tablespoon of canola oil on medium heat. Add bell pepper, oregano, parsley, cilantro and garlic, saute for a minute. Add cooked beans and tomato paste, and stir to combine all the flavors.
3. Add water and rice to your pot, as well as the salt. Stir to combine and let it all come to a boil. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking. When the surface water has evaporated, stir once more and cover with a tight fitting lid.
4. Set the heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Uncover, stir, and then cover your pot again. Turn off the heat and wait an additional 5 minutes — the steam will unstick the rice from the pot!
5. Eat alone, as a side dish, or in a burrito for lunch 🙂

This entry was published on June 6, 2010 at 2:21 pm. It’s filed under dinner and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Moro de Habichuelas Negras (Rice and Black Beans)

  1. Yes! So glad you posted this one! I've always wondered how you made this…

  2. I love to see my recipes adapted, after all "cada cocinero tiene su librito".I am loving your adventures in breadmaking, I had a stage where I obsessed about it.

  3. Gracias, Aunt Clara! I love your blog — it is SO helpful in finding out the "secret" ingredients in my mom's recipes (and finding new ones too!) Thanks for stopping by!

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