Moors and Christians
Although I’ve come across several different versions of how this classic Cuban dish got its name, all lead back to the eighth century when Spain was invaded by their enemies, the Moors. For a genuine Cuban touch, spoon onto plates, top with a fried egg and accompany with Fried Plantains (see Notes). I guarantee you’ll have requests for seconds. This dish is also delicious cold and makes a nice addition to a buffet as a rice salad.
To roast peppers: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Place pepper(s) on a baking sheet and roast, turning two or three times, until the skin on all sides is blackened. (This will take about 25 minutes.) Transfer pepper(s) to a heatproof bowl. Cover with a plate and let stand until cool. Remove and, using a sharp knife, lift skins off. Discard skins and slice according to recipe instructions.
For convenience, use a bottled roasted red pepper.
To make Fried Plantains to serve 6, heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil or butter over medium heat. Add 4 sliced plantains and cook until browned. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp (25 mL) lemon or lime juice and serve immediately.
If, like me, you particularly enjoy the taste of cumin, toast the cumin seeds and lightly crush them before adding to the mixture. In a large dry skillet, toast cumin seeds until they release their aroma. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar, or use the bottom of a measuring cup or wine bottle to coarsely grind.
Make ahead: This dish can be prepared the night before it is cooked but without adding the rice, red and green peppers, cilantro, green onions and lemon or lime juice. Complete Step 1 and refrigerate overnight. The next day, continue cooking as directed in Step 2.
Cooking Methodslow cooking
OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course, side dish
Dietary Considerationmain course, side dish
Taste and Texturegarlicky, savory, spiced
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, finely chopped (see Notes)
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp (10 ml) dried oregano leaves
- 2 tsp (10 ml) cumin seeds, coarsely crushed (see Notes)
- 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 can (14 to 19 oz/398 to 540 mL) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 cup (250 mL) dried black beans, cooked and drained (see Basic Beans)
- ½ cup (125 ml) vegetable stock
- 2 cups (500 ml) long grain rice
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp (25 ml) freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
- ¼ cup (50 ml) finely chopped cilantro
- 4 green onions, white part only, finely chopped
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and cumin seeds and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in tomato, beans and stock and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours.
When bean mixture is cooked, make rice. In a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine rice with 4 cups (1 L) water. Cover, bring to a rapid boil, then turn off the heat, leaving the pot on the warm element. Do not lift the lid or move the pot until rice is ready, which will take about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add roasted red pepper and green pepper to contents of slow cooker and stir well. Cover and cook on High for 20 to 30 minutes, until green pepper is tender.
Stir cooked rice into slow cooker. Add lemon or lime juice, cilantro and green onions and stir to combine thoroughly. Serve hot as a main course or cold as a salad.
2004 Judith Finlayson