Some people, like yours truly here, have a sweet tooth. You know those nights. You can’t sleep. It’s 3:00 am. You find yourself staring into the freezer face planting yourself in a pint of Chunky Monkey or inhaling your way through the bottom of an Oreos’ bag. Ok, maybe not you.
Others have a savory tooth, like my mom. We’ve both been slam busy lately but this past weekend on Mother’s Day we were able to catch up and have a marathon phone call. It started off like this:
“Hey, Mom, I thought I might write up a post for my blog about your favorite meal or dish or something. What do you think?”
“Oh, Mada, thank you! That is so thoughtful of you. Hmmm… My favorite dishes? You could do Moros y Christianos or mashed garlic potatoes with fresh herbs or scalloped sweet potato casserole with cheddar cheese or creamy potato soup or tuna noodle casserole or mashed potatoes with sausage gravy or pasta with…”
You get the picture. All of my mom’s pearly whites are savory.
So, in honor of Mother’s Day this past weekend, I’m going to share with you her most favorite dish: Moros y Cristianos, literally Moors and Christians (kind of obvious) or more commonly known as black beans and rice (not quite as obvious).
I love cooking with my mom. I have the best memories from when I was little. She’d come straight in the house from work and go right to the kitchen to start on dinner. We’d have the best talks while she’d cook and I’d sit on the counter, dangling my legs, watching. She’d have all sorts of good advice on how to navigate 2nd grade playground politics. Now we cook together, still chatting, still solving the world’s problems.
Or, better yet, I get to sit and watch my parents cook together.
This recipe for Moros y Cristianos is the read deal and has been shared and passed down with love to friends and family for generations. My aunt Marilyn, who was married to my mom’s older brother Steve, grew up in Harlingen, Texas not far from the Mexican border. Marilyn is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and from what my mom and my cousins, Brent and Brian, tell me, a great cook. Her mother’s Hispanic housekeeper, Consuelo, a lovely lady and also a fabulous cook, shared this recipe with her when she was a young bride. Marilyn, in turn, taught it to my mom when she was a new bride.
My parents ate a lot of beans and rice with cornbread when they were first married. Money was tight and that was delicious and easy meal to make. Talk about a Win/Win. Marilyn taught her to make black beans and rice in an electric skillet. They were living in Brownsville, Texas where the wind blows constantly and its hotter than hell. Using the electric skillet didn’t heat up the apartment like turning on the stove did. When you’re trying to save money by not turning on your window A/C unit, that’s a big deal.
Most of the time now, I’ll make the rice in the oven (see recipe below). It’s a fool proof method where you can pop it in the oven, walk away, and you still get fluffy rice and no burnt bottoms. Nice!
Since I started living more of a ketogenic low carb lifestyle, I will on occasion take a break from my keto diet and indulge in some carbs. This is a really wonderful treat. It’s perfect to make in advance because it’s always better the next day. There’s something about beans and rice, black beans in particular, that not just fills you up, but also warms your soul.
Happy Mother’s Day. I love you, Mom!
Moros Y Cristianos, Black Beans and Rice
- 1 cup rice washed and rinsed
- 2 cups chicken stock boiling
- 1 can black beans (such as Goya)
- 1/2 onion minced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 cup sherry
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- knife and cutting board
- oven safe casserole dish with lid or tin foil
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In the saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 cup rice. Stir until rice is slightly translucent.
Transfer the rice to the oven safe casserole dish and cover with hot broth. Stir well and cover with lid or foil.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Make sofrito and beans
In the saucepan over medium heat, sweat the onion with red pepper in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Then add the garlic.
Stir in the beans (do not drain or rinse) with the cumin, oregano, sherry and salt. Cook for 5 minutes. If it looks too dry add some chicken broth.
Putting it all together
When the rice is done, push it to the sides of the dish creating a well in the center.
Pour the beans into the center.
Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.
This is a wonderful recipe from Ian. Thank you, Ian!
I love making rice this way because you only use 1 saucepan, cutting down on the amount of dishes. And that's ALWAYS a good thing. 🙂