“Moros y Cristianos” Recipe For Battle!

This dish gets its name from the wars between the dark-skinned Moors and the light-skinned Spaniards that occurred during the eighth century in Spain. It’s a very popular Cuban dish, and it’s perfect for outdoor entertaining, as it can be made well in advance and be served at room temperature.


    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 3 teaspoons salt
    • 1/4 pound bacon (about 6 strips), chopped
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
    • 1 green pepper, seeded and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
    • 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, not drained
    • 1 3/4 cups water
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


  1. Mash the garlic and render the bacon fat
    1. Put the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over the cloves, let it sit for a few minutes, and mince it into a paste with a knife. Set aside.
    2. Place the bacon and olive oil in a large pot and set it over medium-high heat. Sauté the bacon until it renders its fat and turns a golden brown color, about 6 minutes. Move the bacon around as it’s cooking to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  2. Sauté the vegetables and rice
    1. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic paste to the bacon and sauté until the vegetables are limp and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, the bay leaf, cumin, oregano, and rice and stir for 1 minute until well mixed and all the rice is coated in oil.
  3. Add the beans, simmer, and serve
    1. Add the beans and their liquid, along with the water and vinegar, to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed by the rice. Allow the covered pot to sit off the heat for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
Cooking notes
Canned black beans
If you do not want to use the liquid from the canned black beans, just add an extra 1/2 cup of water with the drained and rinsed black beans. Technique
Cooking the rice
Rice requires a specific amount of liquid to cook properly. Because onions and green peppers can contribute a considerable amount of liquid to a recipe, a volume measure for each is given. While the measurements are approximate, making sure the chopped vegetables are close to these amounts will ensure that the rice cooks properly. 
Advance preparation
You can prepare the recipe in its entirety the night before with very little effect on the taste and texture of the dish. However, you will want to warm the dish before serving. This can be done in the microwave or on the hob. Just sprinkle about 1/4 cup of water over the rice to make sure it does not dry out when reheated.