You'll love a steaming plate of our wonderful black beans and rice or moro de habichuelas negras. A popular rice dish in the Spanish Caribbean, it is called congrí in parts of Cuba. Check out our easy recipe and add Dominican and Spanish Caribbean flavor to your meal
Why we ❤️ it
Moro de habichuelas rojas, or rice with red beans, is the most common moro (rice and beans) dish in our country, but don't blink on moro de guandules (rice with pigeon peas), or another favorite moro rice. But once in a while, we feel like shaking up the menu, and making moro de habichuelas negras, a spectacular-looking dish to adorn our daily lunch table.
See just how easy it is to make it, and all the serving ideas we share with you.
Canned or boiled beans?
Traditionally, Dominican cooks boil dry beans at home. Many Dominican cooks use pressure cookers to boil beans. Dry beans boiled at home are significantly cheaper and better for the environment. Typically we boil enough for several meals and freeze them in pre-sized portions that can be used for whatever dish we make later.
I suggest you boil beans at home, but canned beans are perfectly OK too. Bear in mind that the rice will turn out darker or lighter depending on what beans you use. I've found that canned beans make darker moro.
Black beans and rice moro.
What goes with black beans and rice?
- Some people like to throw away the water the canned beans come in. This is not necessary, although it affects the final dish's sodium level. If you do rinse the canned beans, the resulting rice will be paler. It's a matter of taste.
- Cubans love bay leaves in their cuisine, so I have borrowed this from their congrí recipe. It's used in some Dominican homes, but it's not very common. You can leave it out if you wish.
- I use thyme because it's a traditional herb used in La Línea (where I come from) for bean dishes. We call it ditén.
- Bouillon cubes are very common in Dominican homes. I do not use them. I prefer vegetable or chicken broth, but I find it unnecessary in this dish. It already contains many fresh herbs and spices.
- The rice that sticks to the bottom of the pan is the star of the show: concón. You should definitely try it.
About this recipe
While black beans are not as commonly used in our cuisine as other types, we love all our nutrient-rich bean recipes, and I used black beans in a tasty moro-locrio (pork with rice and beans) and habichuelas negras guisadas (stewed black beans), great with white rice (arroz blanco). Check them out too.
This Dominican black beans and rice recipe yields 6 servings, about 1½ cups of rice per person, which is more or less a standard serving at home.
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Black Beans and Rice Recipe (Moro de Habichuelas Negras).
- 1 gal [4 liters]-cast aluminum or cast iron pot with tight-fitting lid
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, (I prefer olive oil) divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon mashed garlic
- ½ teaspoon dry thyme leaves, or a 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf, (optional)
- 1 small red onion, halved
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- ⅛ cup pitted green olives, sliced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon oregano (dry, ground)
- `1 cubanela (cubanelle pepper), diced (or green bell pepper)
- ⅛ cup capers, (optional)
- 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 2 cup boiled black beans
- 2 teaspoons salt, (or more, to taste)
- 4 cup rice, long grain rice, Carolina
- Heat half the oil (2.5 Tbsp) in a cast aluminum or cast iron pot over medium heat and sauté the cilantro, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, onion, celery, olives, oregano, cubanela, capers.Cook and stir for a minute or until the ingredients release their aroma. Stir in the tomato sauce. Add the black beans, also while stirring, and season with the salt.
- Once heated through, add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Try the liquid and add salt to taste before proceeding.
- Once the water reaches a rolling boil stir in the rice and simmer stirring frequently to avoid excessive sticking. Make sure to scrape the rice that sticks to the bottom.
- When the water has evaporated cover it with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes have passed uncover, drizzle the remaining oil, and stir.Cover again for another 5 minutes. After this, the rice should be firm but tender inside. If necessary, cover and leave another 5 minutes over very low heat (if at this point it looks too dry add ¼ cup of boiling water before stirring and covering to simmer again).
- Once the rice is cooked through, discard the bay leaf, onion chunks, and thyme sprigs. Scoop it into a serving bowl. Scrape the crispy rice at the bottom and serve in a separate bowl (see notes above the recipe).
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
Both black beans and rice are naturally gluten-free. A black beans and rice dish would be gluten free if prepared in a way that avoids cross-contamination.
Published Nov 3, 2010, revised