Rule of thumb for Cuban food….the crazier the name, the more delicious the dish. Ropa Vieja (Old Clothes), delicious! Fufu (mashed plantains), fabulous! Rabo Encendido (Flaming Tail), heavenly! But my very favorite side dish not only has an insane name, but is probably one of the staples of Cuban cuisine. Moros y Cristianos which literally translates to Moors and Christians where the black beans represent the Moors and the white rice refers to the Spanish Christians who forced the Moors from Spain into Africa. As I said, ridiculous name but delicious dish. Most Cubans just refer to this dish as Moros.
What makes Moros the perfect dish for the Instant pot is that you are cooking the beans and the rice together in one pot. It’s like having 2 amazing side dishes in one. No need to shlep out the IP for the beans and the rice cooker for the rice. However, the tricky part was finding a way to cook the rice that takes only 15 mins totally in the Instant Pot, with beans that take 60 mins. The few recipes already out there for Moros int he Instant Pot used brown rice (which is not traditional and gives it a very different flavor) or the rice came out way too mushy. However, after some thinking I found the key to perfect Moros where the beans are cooked perfectly, the rice is not mushy or watery, the flavor is perfect, and the whole dish is made in one pot and takes less than 25 mins total!
Instant Pot Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos)
Recipe by Lana Horruitiner Perez adapted from Congri recipe by Carlos Horruitiner
- 1/2 Large Yellow Onion, chopped fine
- 1/2 Green Pepper, chopped fine
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced fine
- 2- 15.5 oz cans of Goya Black Beans ( I prefer to use Goya brand black beans. Just make sure that you use the blue can and not the red can which is actually Black Bean Soup)
- 3 1/4 cups Water
- 2 Tbl Olive Oil
- 1 packet Sazon ( I used the Sazon Goya with garlic and onion. If you don’t have this you can use the bottle of Sazon seasoning, Adobo, or you can make a substitute by combining 1 Tbl each of Coriander, Cumin, Tumeric, Garlic Powder, and Salt. Use 1 1/2 teaspoons of this mix to equal one packet)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 Tbl Salt
- Ground Pepper to taste
- 3 cups White Rice (I use long grain enriched), do not rinse and use the rice cup that comes with the Instant Pot. It is actually 180 ml per scoop and not 240 ml which is a standard cup size.
Finely chop your 1/2 Yellow Onion and 1/2 Green Pepper and set aside. Mince 4 Garlic cloves and set aside.
Place a strainer over a large measuring cup that holds at least 4 cups of liquid. Drain one can of beans into the strainer so the liquid pours into the measuring cup. There will not be much liquid, but that is ok. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE EMPTY CAN!
Pour 1 cup of water into the now empty can of beans and using a spoon, stir and scrape up any liquid or paste the is left in the can. This part is very important. Once you stirred it up, pour the liquid from the can over the black beans in the strainer and into the measuring cup. You should now have a little over 1 cup of liquid.
Pour the black beans into a bowl and replace the strainer over the measuring cup. Repeat this process with the second can of beans. Now you should have a little over 2 cups of liquid int he measuring cup. Add more water so you have 3 1/4 cups of liquid in total. Set beans and bean liquid aside.
Add 2 Tbl Olive Oil to the Instant Pot and press “Saute”. Then press “Adjust” button until it reads “Low”. (This adjusts the Instant pot to Saute on a lower heat. If you don’t adjust it, it will default to saute on “Normal” setting. This is fine, you will just have to watch your food closer so it doesn’t burn and saute for a lesser amount of time.)
Add the chopped Onion and Green Pepper once the oil is hot. Saute for approximately 8 mins making sure to stir occasionally. You want the onions and peppers to become translucent and soft. Add the minced Garlic and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure to stir often so the garlic does not burn.
Add the 3 cups of Rice and stir so it is coated with the oil and veggies.
Add the 3 1/4 cup liquid from beans and water, 1 packet of Sazon, 1/2 Tbl Salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and 2 Bay Leaves. Stir.
Add the black beans to the Instant Pot. Do not stir them into the rice. Rather pour over the top and just use a spatula or spoon to lightly distribute the beans out in an even layer so they are mostly submerged in the liquid.
Lock the Instant Pot Lid into place and make sure the valve is set to “Sealed” position. Pressure Cook for 8 minutes on High. Allow to Natural Release pressure when done for 10 minutes. Quick Release the rest of the pressure and fluff with a fork.
Serve as is or squeeze a little lime.