Moros y Cristianos

Moros y Cristianos

Jason Varney


  • 2 Tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • large Spanish onion, diced
  • green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons  minced garlic
  • serrano chiles, seeds and ribs removed, diced finely
  • 10  plum tomatoes, diced
  • 4 Teaspoons  cumin seeds, toasted then ground
  • sprigs thyme
  • fresh bay leaves
  • 2 Cups  long-grain white rice
  •   Two 15-ounce cans black beans, preferably organic, drained and rinsed
  • quart chicken stock
  • 1/4 Cup  cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon  kosher salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

Yes, Moros y Cristianos, the common Cuban name for this ubiquitous side dish, translates as "Moors and Christians." And yes, the black beans are taken for the dark-skinned Moors while the white rice grains are the lighter-complected Christians. And that's all I have to say about that. The dish itself, though, I could talk about all day; it is easy, absolutely delicious, and part-and-parcel of any proper Cuban barbecue. The base is a classic Cuban sofrito of onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, chiles, herbs, and spices. The resting step at the end helps make the rice moist yet fluffy.

See all rice recipes.

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Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, and chiles and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cumin, thyme, and bay leaves and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Add the rice, beans, stock, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Let rest uncovered for 2-3 minutes before serving.

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