Moros (Cuban-style Black Beans and Rice)

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Growing up in Miami, Fl has given me a healthy love of Cuban food.  Moros is a personal favorite of mine, and will always be my side dish of choice when dining at a Cuban restaurant.  Moros, short for moros y cristianos, is a dish in which rice is cooked with black beans, and gets its name from the wars between the dark skinned Moors (moros) and the light skinned Spaniards (cristianos) from the Eighth Century.

Before owning an Instant Pot, all of my previous attempts at cooking beans had always ended in failure.  I tried all of the tips and tricks that I got online or from word of mouth, and nothing yielded me a tender bean.    I only ever successfully made moros using canned black beans, and it just was never the same as what I would get in the restaurants.  Now, nine months after getting my pot, I’m cooking all sorts of beans and not once has there been a failure.  I finally set out to reconfigure my moros recipe to use dried beans, and it has been a huge success.

You will start by cooking the beans.  Add the beans, bay leaves, ham hock, chunked green pepper, 4 cloves of minced garlic, and some salt to the pot.  Pour in a quart of chicken stock, then seal and cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.  Allow the pressure to release naturally.  While this is happening, you can prep the rest of your ingredients.

When the beans are done, drain them (save the bean liquid) and discard the bay leaves and green pepper.  If you used a meaty ham hock, remove the meat from the bone and chop it up for later use.  Wash and dry your pot liner and return to the pot.

Set the pressure cooker to Saute (Browning) function, then adjust to the highest setting.  When it’s ready, add the bacon and cook until it is brown and crispy.  Take the bacon out of the pot (leave the fat), set aside, and then add the onions and peppers in with the bacon fat.  When they start to soften, add the garlic and seasonings, and cook until fragrant.  Add your vinegar.  Add enough water to the bean liquid to make 3 cups of liquid, then add that to the pot.  Adjust seasoning as needed, then stir in the washed rice.  Cover, seal, then switch the pot to the Rice setting and cook.  When the cooking cycle is done, allow the pressure to release naturally.

Fluff your finished moros with a fork, then stir in the bacon.  If you have any meat from your ham hock, add that as well.

You can serve moros as a side dish for your favorite Cuban entrees, such as lechon asado, palomilla steak, or masas de puerco.  However, this moros is so hearty and flavorful that it can easily stand alone as a meal.  The jalapeno adds a nice punch to the flavor profile, but feel free to leave it out for a mild version.

This recipe makes a LOT, so it’s great for large families, parties, or make-ahead freezer meals.  Leftovers reheat great!

Moros (Cuban-style Black Beans and Rice)

Ingredients

  • 1 green pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup diced green pepper
  • 1 cup diced red pepper
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
  • 1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and picked over to remove any stones
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 4 slices thick bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 cups long grain white rice, rinsed

Directions

In the liner of the pressure cooker, add the dried beans, chunked green pepper, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tsp salt, bay leaves, and ham hock.  Pour in the chicken stock, then seal and cook on Manual (high pressure) for 20 minutes.  Allow the pressure to release naturally.  Drain the beans, reserving the liquid, then set aside along with the ham hock (remove meat from bone and chop up) and discard the bay leaves and green pepper pieces.  Wash and dry the pressure cooker liner, then return to the pot.

Set the pot to Saute (Browning).  When ready, add the bacon and cook until brown and crispy.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set aside.  In the hot bacon fat that’s still in the pot, saute the onions and green peppers, red peppers, and jalapeno (if using) until softened.  Add the remaining garlic, oregano, cumin, , salt and pepper, stirring until fragrant.  Add the vinegar.  Take the reserved bean liquid and add enough water to make 3 cups of liquid total.  Add this to the pot, then stir.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  You will want it to taste over-seasoned, because it will mellow out once you add the rice.

Add the rinsed rice, then stir to combine.  Seal the pot once more and switch to the Rice setting, allowing pressure to release naturally after the cooking cycle is complete.  Uncover, fluff rice with fork, and stir in the crispy bacon and chopped meat from the ham hock.  Serve hot.

Makes about 5 quarts.

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