Cuban Red Beans and Rice (Congri Oriente)
8 to 10 servings
- 1 cup dried red beans OR kidney beans, rinsed
- 3 cups water (for soaking beans)
- 3 cups hot water
- 2 Mazola® Sobrecitos™ Chicken Flavor Bouillon Packets
- OR 4 teaspoons Mazola® Chicken Flavor Bouillon Powder
- 1 whole bay leaves
- 1 lean, meaty ham bone OR 1 cup diced, smoked ham
- 2 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil
- 1/4 cup sliced salt pork OR bacon
- 1-1/2 cups long grain rice, rinsed and drained
- 1-1/2 cups diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced green pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seed
- 1/4 teaspoon black medium grind pepper
- Optional garnish, fresh parsley OR green onion slices
- Bring water and beans to a boil over medium high heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let stand for one hour. Drain beans and return to pan. (Beans can also be soaked at room temperature overnight.)
- Add hot water, bouillon, bay leaf, and ham bone to the beans. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
- Reserve meat from ham bone, discarding bone and bay leaf. Drain beans over a bowl reserving liquid.
- Cook the salt pork in the same pan over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp. Discard the rendered fat except for 2 teaspoons, transfer cooked meat to a plate; crumble and set aside.
- Add the oil to the pan and stir in the rice; cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Stir in onions, peppers, tomato paste, garlic and spices; cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in beans, 3 cups of reserved broth, reserved ham and cooked bacon pieces. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes or until rice is fully cooked.
- Remove from heat, cover and let steam for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork. This dish can be garnished with a fresh parsley sprigs and green onion slices. Excellent recipe to make ahead and reheat. Serve as a meal or a side dish with chicken or pork along with traditional Tostonés, if desired.
- Recipe Note: This recipe is sometimes made spicy by cooking a piece of scotch bonnet or habanero pepper in with the rice and beans. This piece of pepper is often discarded prior to serving, but the dish is garnished with fresh pepper on top.