Newbery award winner and New York Times bestselling author

Our foodie celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month continues…

¡Ay  frijolito negro! No Cuban kitchen is without black beans of some kind. You can serve  them as soup, thicken and pour them over white rice, or…you can make moros con cristianos — Moors and Christians. The name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Arab influence in Spain. In our house, we serve this dish at major holidays — including Thanksgiving.


  • bag of dry Goya black beans
  • 3 C white long grain rice (Tío Ben brand is our favorite)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T oregano
  • salt
  • 1 envelope of Sazón Accent sin Achote or 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • a couple of splashes of red wine vinegar
  • Pressure cooker or large pot


Inspect and rinse bag of beans in a colander.

Fry bacon strips and crumble. Remove from pan.

Shhh! Don't tell your doctor.

Sautee vegetables in remaining bacon oil until onions are transparent. (Sorry cardiologists!)

In a pressure cooker place rinsed beans, sauteed vegetables, vinegar, and 6 cups of water. Cover and pressure cook for 20 minutes after the steam starts spouting. When 20 minutes are up, remove cooker from stove and put it in the sink. Run cool water over the lid until the steam stops completely and it is safe to open. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker (!que pena, chica!), simmer this mixture covered in your pot until the beans are soft but not mushy…maybe an hour or so.)

Using a colander, drain the beans from the liquid. Measure 6 cups of liquid. If you are short, add water to reach 6 cups.

Rinse 3 cups of white rice until the water runs clear. Place rice in large pot.

Add beans, liquid, and sauteed vegetables. Add oregano, bay leaves, salt and Sazon accent sin achote (if you have it). If you don’t have Sazón accent, use cumin.

Bring mixture to boil and lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice surface looks porous. When you turn it over, the bottom of the pan should have no liquid left.

Sprinkle with bacon bits.

Now, who cooked the pork chunks?

Meg’s next appearances for Hispanic Heritage Month: Children’s Museum of Richmond, October 1, 2011. Readings throughout the day, with art activities in the museum studio. Make your own maraca…and then go next door to the Que Pasa Festival on the grounds of the Science Museum of Virginia.

Comments on: "Moors and Christians" (4)

  1. You have the best titles for your recipes! I’m going to have to try this one. You had me at bacon.

  2. I’ve had a love of beans of all kinds since I was a small child! Must try this. Your last recipe was a huge hit in our house!

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