The recipe for Moors and Christians, also called "moro" or "moros", is a Creole food originating in Cuba, but its consumption is traditional in the Canary Islands. This is mainly due to the fact that the relationship between the archipelago and Latin America, and more specifically the Caribbean, dates back to the 16th century and has been very close ever since. This is why the Canarian accent is reminiscent of Latin America and why many dishes of Latin origin have been adapted and are eaten in the Canary Islands.
This delicious recipe is prepared with black beans, known in other Latin countries, such as Venezuela and Puerto Rico, as caraotas negras or gandules, while in Spain they are known as judías or alubias. In addition to beans, the second main ingredient in this dish is rice. It is a recipe similar to the classic arroz con frijoles, but it is also confused with arroz congrí. It is also very similar to morisqueta, as both recipes use rice and beans as a base.
History of the Moors and Christians recipe
Although the Moors and Christians recipe is a signature dish of Cuban cuisine, it is also eaten throughout the Caribbean, as well as in the southern United States, southeastern Mexico and Brazil.
As for its origin, it is said that it is from Spain and that it gets its name from the battles between Moors and Christians that are still reenacted in many Spanish patron saint festivals. But the doubt lies in that very origin, as it is not known whether the recipe originates from the peninsula or, on the contrary, it was born as a result of the traditions of the Spanish Creoles in the Caribbean.
Confusion between recipes
According to Cuban anthropologist and journalist Fernando Ortiz, congri rice may have its origins in Africa. The term "congrí" comes from the Haitian Creole congó riz (beans and rice). However, the name Moors and Christians comes from Spain and refers to the Spanish Reconquest during the Medina Age in which the Christian kingdoms battled against Al-Andalus.
On the other hand, both recipes, Moros y cristianos and arroz congrí, differ in the type of legume used for each. While black beans are used for the Moors and Christians recipe, red beans are used for the congrí, although they hardly vary in colour and flavour once the dish is prepared.
How to prepare the Moors and Christians recipe
Here are the necessary ingredients and the correct way to prepare this tasty and easy recipe at home.
2 cups of rice; 2 cups of black beans; one onion; one green pepper; one red pepper; 4 heads of garlic; 1 chorizo sausage; 150 grams of bacon; in addition, cloves, bay leaf, salt, black pepper and virgin olive oil.
First and foremost, the beans must be soaked the day before.
To prepare this delicious Moors and Christians recipe, start by heating a pan with two tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add half an onion chopped into small cubes and leave to simmer over a low heat. Next, add two heads of chopped garlic to the pan and cook for two minutes. Next, add the pepper, also chopped, and let it fry for a few minutes. Then add the chorizo and the bacon , both cut into small squares, and leave to brown for a few minutes.
Once the above steps have been completed, add a litre of water and the previously drained beans to the pot. Add a bay leaf, a teaspoon of cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Leave to cook for approximately one hour, until the beans are tender.
To prepare the rice, start by washing it several times to remove all the starch. In another pot, put two spoonfuls of olive oil, two whole cloves of garlic and the other half a whole onion, to which we prick a few grains of cloves. Next, add four cups of water, two for each cup of rice to be prepared, and salt to taste. Leave everything on a high heat until the water comes to the boil and then add the rice. Keep everything on a high heat for 5 to 7 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium and leave to cook for a further 7 minutes.
Once everything is ready, it's time to serve it. A bed of beans accompanied by rice, which is placed on top, and that's it! Now you can enjoy your Moors and Christians dish.
If you are interested in the recipes of typical Canarian dishes , here are some links so that you can continue to enjoy the gastronomy of the islands: Potaje de trigo palmero, a tradition of the Isla Bonita; Carne fiesta, the most popular Canarian recipe in stalls; Rancho canario, a traditional and comforting spoon dish.
Photos: Edu Gorostiza; en.wikipedia.org, goya.com