Arroz con Frijoles Negros (Rice and Black Beans)
This recipe for rice and black beans takes us on a gastronomical journey to Cuba! Rice and black beans are a must-have side dish in Cuban cuisine and are often paired with main dishes like Ropa Vieja or Lechón asado.
In Cuba, these two staple foods are cooked in various different ways and you may find different recipes from region to region. For ex., a popular dish based on rice and black beans is Moros y Cristianos, which is slightly different than the recipe presented below.
So let’s see how to actually prepare this traditional Cuban meal. It’s so easy and delicious it would be a shame not to give it a try!
Arroz con Frijoles Negros (Cuban Rice and Beans)
- 225 gr dried black beans soaked the night before
- 1 l water
- ½ green bell pepper chopped
- ½ medium onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt and more to taste
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine/ apple cider vinegar
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 2/3 cups rice to serve
How to Prepare the Black Beans
- Make sure you leave your black beans to soak overnight before cooking. When ready to prepare them, drain completely and add to either a pot, a pressure cooker or an electric slow cooker and top with fresh water.
- Add half the amounts of pepper, onion garlic and the bay leaf.
- Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer the pot covered for about 45 minutes until softened.
- At around the 35-minute mark start preparing the sauce by heating some oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the rest of the onion until translucent then stir in half the chopped peppers. Soften them well and finally introduce the remainder of the garlic, stirring for 1 minute to get all the flavors going. Then stir in the cumin, paprika and oregano for half a minute so they release their fragrance.
- Add the fried mixture to the beans and season with salt to your liking. Continue boiling the pot, covered.
How to Prepare the Rice:
- Measure out some water (there should be 2-3 times more water than rice), pour into a pot and bring to a boil. When the water begins to boil add the rice, while stirring to avoid the grains sticking together and cook for around 12-15 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the liquid.
- During the last 15 minutes of the beans cooking add the sugar and vinegar. If there's too much liquid you can leave them to simmer uncovered for a while for the water to evaporate. If you like a thicker consistency you can take part of the beans out and blend them in a food processor before mixing them back in with the rest.
- Season to taste and serve by scooping the rice into 4 bowls and topping with the beans. Alternatively, you can combine the rice and beans together into an even mixture.