I love legumes in all its forms and, until I found this wonderful recipe in Maricel Presilla's book The Food of Latin America - Gran Cocina Latina, I never imagined a dish as delicious as moros y cristianos. The dish traditionally associated with Cuban gastronomy, combines two of my favorite ingredients: white rice and black beans and it is to die for.

Maricel, who was born in Cuba, is a historian and has two restaurants in Hoboken, New Jersey. She says that there is a Veracruzan version in Mexico, and since Cubans used to import black beans from Mexico, it is not known for sure the origin and nationality of such delight. Keep reading to get the recipe below.


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Controversy aside, here is Maricel's recipe. She takes Moors and Christians to "the next level", because she has the capability of transforming the simplest in a feast for the senses.

Moros y cristianos
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients for the back beans
1/2 pound of black beans (two cups if using canned beans)
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
6 sweet peppers (ají dulce or cubanelle pepper)
1 ham hock (optional)

Preparation of the the beans

1. Rinse and pick the beans beans.

2. In a pot with 2 1/2 quarts of water, put the beans onion, bell pepper, sweet peppers and ham hock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours.

3. Drain the beans and reserve 4 cups of the liquid. Discard vegetables and bones.

Ingredients for the dish
2 cups of rice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 pound of slab bacon diced
1 1/4 cup finely chopped medium onion
1 cup of green bell pepper, seeded, deveined, minced
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
1 tablespoon of dry sherry
2 teaspoons of salt


1. Put the rice in a colander and let the water run until it runs clear. Drain.

2. Heat the oil y a heavy pan and add the bacon. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the onion, pepper, cumin, oregano and bay leaf and sauté until onion wilts, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the rice and stir. Add the black beans and the reserved liquid. Add the vinegar, sherry and salt. Cook uncovered until the liquid has been almost completely absorbed and small crater have formed on the surface.

5. Stir with a fork and reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 20 minutes.

6. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, at least 10 minutes before serving.

For more of my recipes visit my cooking blog.

Image via Enriqueta Lemoine

Topics: hispanic heritage month  cuban recipe  latin recipe