Beans and Rice: Moors and Christians
“Everyday bread” and “Food for the soul” are the names that can be encountered when referring to beans with rice. This is one of the most important dishes in the cuisine of many countries but it is often found on South American and Spanish tables.
Due to the proximity of countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Puerto Rico; dishes consisting of beans and rice have become a common place in the American diet. In Rio de Janeiro black beans are usually enjoyed whereas in New Orleans red beans have more popularity. In Mexico beans and rice are flavored with cumin, while in Spain paprika and saffron are preferred. Such a famous dish as Paella, commonly made with rice, can also be encountered with the addition of beans. In some places rice and beans are presented separately on one plate, however, in others, they are served mixed together.
Up until recently I thought that “Moors and Christians” dish was Spanish dish by origin. The name of the meal is reminiscent of a time when the Moors and Christians (black beans and white rice) lived together harmoniously in Spain. This fact made me believe that the recipe was created in Spain. However, as it turns out, the story is a bit different: the Spanish Conquistadors brought rice to Central America where it quickly became a staple of the local cuisine, and so “Moors and Christians” became a favorite dish in the Cuban kitchen.
Today I present this bright, full flavored dish cooked my way.
- 1 cup of uncooked rice (I used a mixture of long grain and wild rice)
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 can of corn (optional)
- ½ cup finely chopped red or yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1-2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 chili pepper (jalapeno or fresno), finely chopped
- ¼ tsp chili powder or paprika
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- Extra virgin olive oil (or other vegetable)
- Black ground pepper
- Fresh chopped cilantro or green onion for garnish
Cook the rice.
Drain black beans and rinse them with water.
In a frying pan heat the olive oil. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add tomatoes, bell pepper and chili pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
Add rice, beans, corn, spices, 1 tbsp of olive oil and, if necessary, ¼ cup water. Stir and warm up for about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with cilantro or green onions and serve as a vegetarian dish or as a side dish.
You can make this dish without tomatoes.
Cook with pleasure!