How to make Congri (Moros y Cristianos)
What is Congri?
Let’s first start with how to say Congri. It’s pronounced con-gree. Now that we know how to say it, what is it? Congri is the combination of black beans and rice made together in the same pot. When the rice is cooked it is cooked with the same water that the black beans were cooked in. Then, when the rice and beans are cooked together the rice takes on the color of the black water creating a gray or in Spanish, gris color. This technique adds so much flavor. What I love about Congri is the addition of bacon! Traditional black beans and rice does not have bacon.
The other name Moros Y Cristianos has yet another more historical meaning for the dish. Moros y Cristianos translates to Moors and Christians. Moors represents the Muslim Moors. Christians represents the Spanish Christians. The dish in turn honors and remembers the Reconquista. The Reconquista was a long war between the Islamic Moors and the Christian Spaniards and then celebrates how they came to live together in the Iberian Peninsula.
In order to save time we are going to be using an Instant Pot. I just love using an Instant Pot for Cuban dishes because now we can have dishes that used to take hours in under an hour.
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Congri (Moros y Cristianos)
- First, wash black beans in a colander. Remove any dirt or rocks. Add the black beans to the Instant Pot inner pot. Next add the bell pepper that has been seeded and the top removed. Pour in 6 cups of water. Add 1 teaspoon of each, salt, garlic powder and cumin. Set the Instant pot to cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the keep warm feature.
- While the beans are cooking cut bacon into 1/4 inch pieces. Heat a pan on medium high heat. Cook bacon until fat is rendered and crispy. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel. Pour off the bacon fat except for about 3 tablespoons.
- Dice the onion and smash the garlic. Sauté the onions and garlic in the reserved bacon fat.
- When the beans are finished cooking release the steam using the quick release method. Use an oven mitt so as not to get burned. The black beans should still be firm. Do not cook them all of the way because they are going to be cooking again with the rice. Drain the beans but reserve the water. Remove cooked bell pepper and throw away.
- Using the Instant pot inner pot add the rice and wash thoroughly. At first the water will be very cloudy. Wash 3 to 4 times until water is clearer.
- Add the partially cooked black beans to the washed rice. Stir in the sautéed onions and garlic. Stir in 1/2 of the cooked bacon. Reserve the other half of the bacon for later. Add in 4 cups of the reserved water drained from the black beans. Last, stir in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set the Instant pot to cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the keep warm feature. When the time is up let the Instant pot natural release for 8 minutes. Then carefully quick release the steam using the valve. Stir in the remainder of the bacon. Serve with your favorite protein.