Black beans and rice traditional recipe for moros y cristianos

Moros y Cristianos (Beans and Rice)

Strangley enough, Moros y Cristianos is a popula traditional dish from Caribbean and Latin American cuisine, particularly popular in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico. It is a dish made of black beans and rice, which are cooked together and seasoned with various spices and herbs, such as cumin, oregano, garlic, and bay leaves.

It doesn’t appear on the menu in Ronda very often but when it does it is often served as a side dish or as a main course with meat, seafood, or vegetables. Without the meat, of course, it is a perfect vegeterian option

The dish gets its name from the historical reenactments of the battles between Moors (Muslims) and Christians that took place in Spain during the Middle Ages. When the Spanish colonized Latin America and the Caribbean, they brought with them their traditions, including the reenactment of the battles, which were adapted to the local culture and became known as “Moros y Cristianos.

This is the recipe with the rice cooked WITH the beans.
Ingredients (serves four)
  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained (400g)
  • 4 cups water (960ml)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup) (150g)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup) (150g)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (2g)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (2g)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (15ml)
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice (400g)
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth (960ml)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Moros y Cristianos (Beans and Rice)
This is the recipe with the rice cooked WITH the beans.
  1. In a large pot, combine the black beans, water, onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, and olive oil. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the beans are tender.
  2. Add the rice and broth to the pot and stir well. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, remove the bay leaves and season the Moros y Cristianos with salt and black pepper to taste.
  4. Serve the Moros y Cristianos hot as a side dish or as a main course with meat, seafood, or vegetables.
Tips to make the best Moros y Cristianos (Beans and Rice)
  • Soak the beans overnight: Soaking the beans overnight can help to reduce their cooking time and ensure that they cook evenly. Drain and rinse the beans before cooking.
  • Use good quality ingredients: The flavor of Moros y Cristianos depends largely on the quality of the ingredients you use. Use fresh herbs and spices, high-quality rice, and flavorful broth to give your dish the best taste possible.
  • Don’t rush the cooking process: Moros y Cristianos is a dish that requires patience and time to cook. Don’t rush the cooking process or turn up the heat too high, as this can cause the rice to cook unevenly and stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Use a heavy-bottomed pot: A heavy-bottomed pot can help to distribute heat evenly and prevent the rice from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Let the rice rest: After the rice has finished cooking, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This will help to make the rice fluffier and prevent it from clumping together.
The other recipe of Moros y Cristianos (Beans and Rice) with the rice cooked seperately

Some people prefer to cook the rice separately from the black beans, as this can allow for more control over the texture and flavor of both components. Here is a recipe for Moros y Cristianos where the rice is cooked separately.

The dish we’re preparing gets its name from the contrast in colours between the black beans (“moros”) and the white rice (“cristianos”). Perhaps not very politically correct, but there you have it, that’s history for you. See the history lesson below!

Ingredients (serves four)
  • 400 grams (14 oz) of black beans
  • White rice (enough for 4 people)
  • 2 litres (4 pints) of water
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 orange
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 300 grams (10 oz) of rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
Moros y Cristianos (Beans and Rice)
The other recipe of Moros y Cristianos (Beans and Rice) with the rice cooked seperately.
Adornos (garnish)
  • Parsley
  • Onion slices
  • Orange slices
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  1. If bought in their dried state, the black beans will need to be left to soak overnight. Fill a pan with water, quarter the onion and throw it in. Chop up the carrot and drop that in, too. Do the same with the stick of celery. Add a bay leaf, crush the garlic and put it in.
  2. When the water comes to the boil, skim off the froth, turn down the heat, cover the pan and let the beans simmer. It will take about an hour for them to turn soft.
  3. While the beans are simmering, make a mixture of the oil, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne, then add this to the beans, finishing off with the juice of the fresh orange.
  4. Once the beans are tender, turn off the heat and let the whole lot stand for fifteen minutes.
  5. Boil the rice with just a dash of salt and the bay leaf.
  6. Prepare a bowl for each person, smeared inside with butter, and when the rice is ready, put it into the bowls (which can now stand for a few minutes).
  7. To serve, give each of your diners a generous ladling of black beans, then overturn a bowl of rice onto each plate, making a mound of conquering “cristianos” over each plate of “moros”.
  8. Garnish with slices of onion and orange, chopped parsley and if you feel so inclined, some diced hard-boiled egg.
And here is the boring (but very interesting) history about Moros y Cristianos (Beans and Rice)

In the year 711 AD (1,300 years ago), Arabic armies poured into Spain from the south, where the crossing from Africa is very narrow. It did not take them long to conquer the whole Iberian peninsula, as far north as the French border. The “Moros” (so-called because they hailed from Morocco) were dark-skinned Muslims and they quickly converted Spain into an Islamic land. In fact, rather than a united country, Moorish Spain was a patchwork of little local kingdoms.

By the eleventh century AD, the Christians had made up their minds to fight back. Starting in the north, and re-conquering Spain virtually village by village, the Christians gradually pushed their way south. It took them 400 years! If you’ve ever wondered why towns like Jerez and Arcos have “de la frontera” tacked onto their names, it is because at some point, probably in the 13th century, they were on the front line between the Christians and the Moors.

Finally, in the year 1492, Granada city, the last Arabic stronghold in Spain fell to the Christians. Spain was once more united under a Christian monarch. Even today there are plenty of villages (mostly over Alicante way) who celebrate an annual festival of “Moros y Cristianos”, to commemorate the freeing of Spain from its 700-year bondage to Islam. The locals dress up in medieval costume and indulge in a riotous free-for-all punch-up. Great fun!

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