Moro (rice mixed with….) of habichuelas negras (black beans) is a staple around my family. For gatherings, birthdays, holidays..Its requested by young and old. There is something special about and one “secret” ingredients that will have wondering. Try it this way and see what you think.
Chefs note: many people use canned beans. You can…however the difference in the end is astronomical when you use dry beans that has been soaked and made tender the same day.
For the beans:
8 oz of dry black beans
1.5 liters of water
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove
For the rice
3 cups of rice
1/2 cup corn/vegetable oil
1 cup of sofrito
1 chicken bullion cube
1 Tbs of adobo (the red bottle)
2 Tbs of tomato paste
2-3 cilantro springs
1/4 of a small white onion
1 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of oregano
2 tsp of ground allspice
1 bay leaf
Soak your black beans (if possible the night before) drain the water and boil in 1.5 L of fresh water, bay leaf and 1 garlic clove. Boil for at least 35 minutes. At the end you should have at least 3 cups of water and very soft beans. If its too dry add water and let boil five more minutes.
Strain your beans and reserve the water. Make sure you take out the bay leaf and mash the garlic clove if still visible. In the same water as it is hot dissolve the 2tsp of ground allspice
In a heavy bottom pot, add your oil, beans, adobo, sofrito, tomato paste, cumin, oregano and bullion cube. Turn the heat to medium high heat and stir all ingredients.
While it heats and flavors get blended, measure out your rice and rinse with water.
Pour the rice in the pot and stir very well. Once all is mixed, measure out 3 cups of the reserve liquid from beans and add to pot. If you have extra discard it. If you are missing any to reach the 3 cups add a little fresh water. The ratio to water and rice should always be the same
Add your bell peppers, onions, cilantro and bay leaf to the rice water mixture. Cover the pot loosely. When the water has evaporated, stir it make sure you scrape the bottom and form into a mound. Place a moist paper towel to cover rice and lower your heat to low. Let it cook for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes has passed uncover and fluff with a big fork. Ideally you will fold to bring the bottom rice to top and vice versa. As you doing the “turning” take out the onion, peppers, cilantro, and bay leaf. Cover for another 10.
Serve in a platter or bowl and enjoy with your favorite protein.