I’m not a big rice person. Maybe it’s from having to eat it all the time when I was little. Cubans eat rice only second to Asians (One of my old college roommates was Chinese-American & did not consider it a proper meal unless she had some white rice. She also had like this 6th sense ability to know when the rice cooker was done. I love her.) I like to make Cuban food when I’m cooking for people, and most of the time that includes rice. Especially in this case. My husband & I were going to visit some friends who had recently had a baby & bring them some lunch. We asked the new mom what she would prefer & she said rice would be great. So as you can see, I had to. Rice, rice, rice.
I was actually excited to make this recipe. We call it Congri. If you call it Moros, we can’t be friends. Just kidding! If you have no idea what either of those words means, we can still be friends & you learned something new. My mom gave me this recipe, & I hadn’t made it in a long time. It was also the perfect excuse to break in our cast iron dutch over. The only thing is that I forget that when I took down the recipe from Mami, I was making it for a party. This recipe makes enough rice for like 15 people; 10 if they are big rice fans. Rice.
I gathered & prepped all my ingredients (in my pretty bowls, just for you guys) & got to work.
The first step is to sofreir -sauté- your rice with oil & Sazón. Mami says this step opens up the rice kernels & makes them taste better. If nothing else, this will help keep the rice from sticking & season it evenly. I did this for just a few minutes until the oil was making a hissssss sound.
Next you add all the other ingredients. If you don’t know what Recaito is, it’s a mix of onions, roasted garlic, sweet peppers, green bell pepper, cubanelle pepper, cilantro, & culantro blended until smooth.
If you make your own beans for this recipe (the old fashioned way it’s supposed to be done), use the water you boil the beans in to make the rice – it gives it that traditional congri color. I didn’t do that. I used canned black beans that I drained & rinsed because the water inside the can is always yucky to me. This is why my rice came out kind of orangey instead of grey/black. My mom gets around this by adding a little bit of browning sauce. But I believe Congri should be judged not by the color of the rice, but by the content of the flavor.
Bring it to a boil, then to a simmer. The highs & lows of cooking. Cover & let simmer for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, stir it up. Simmer for 10 more minutes, & voila!
Even for someone who’s not a rice lover (me), this is delicious. I served it with some pork roast I threw in the crock pot with mojo, fresh garlic, & cumin (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that cumin & Cuban rhyme).
Makes 12 half-cup servings
- 4 cups parboiled rice
- 2 cans black beans, drained
- 1 bell pepper
- 3 strips cooked bacon
- 2 packets of Sazón (3 tsp)
- 2-3 tbsp Recaito
- 6 cups water
- 1-2 tbsp oil
- Sauté the uncooked rice in oil with the Sazón for a few minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients & bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn heat to low & cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, stir the rice until mixed evenly. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Serve & enjoy!