Arroz Congrí

This is the recipe that started the Bean Train! This is Mami’s best recipe and it’s the one that her kids and grandkids want to learn and pass down. Everytime she makes it, she calls me to see if I want her to save me some. Of course I do! (Hers is still better than mine!)

This is a traditional rice dish that’s served with just about anything, but especially with roast pork (lechón asado) on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena).

It’s been hard perfecting this recipe because my mom doesn’t use exact measurements. It’s a little pinch of this, a dash of that, and a handful of the other thing. She cooks “a ojo de buen cubero” which basically means she eyeballs everything. But she’s been making this recipe for so long that it always comes out amazing.


You can’t  use canned beans for this dish, you really need to make them from scratch because you’ll be using the bean broth as well as the beans. You can substitute bacon for the salt pork if it’s easier. You can also use less of it, if you like. My daughter loves it so much I usually add a little more.  Enjoy!

Summer Pasta with Basil, Tomatoes and Cheese

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Traditional Cuban Rice Dish


– 12 oz bag uncooked black beans (Goya is good)
– 2 cups white long grain rice
– 6 oz salt pork, cut into ½ inch cubes
– 1 medium yellow onion, minced
– ¼ green pepper, cut into three pieces
– 6 garlic cloves, minced
– ¼ cup olive oil
– 4 bay leaves
– 2 tsp dried oregano
– ½ tsp cumin
– 3 tsp salt
– ¼ tsp pepper


Rinse the beans and soak them in water for about an hour. Drain the water and put the beans in a large pot, add six cups of water, one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon oregano and three bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are fork tender but not too soft (they should still be whole). This should take about one hour or so. You can also cook it in a pressure cooker for about ten minutes. Once done, separate the beans from the broth and reserve both.

Soak the salt pork in water ten minutes then drain (this removes some of the saltiness). While that’s soaking, rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.

Heat a dutch oven (or caldero) over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the salt pork and one quarter cup water. Once the water evaporates, add about two tablespoons olive oil and brown the salt pork. Add more oil if needed.

Once browned, remove from the pot. Add a quarter cup olive oil. Once it’s heated, add the onion, garlic and peppers and cook until the onions are translucent, about five to eight minutes. Add the rice and sauté for a minute. Add two cups of the bean broth (stir the bean broth before you measure it out to make sure you get the sediment at the bottom, this helps turn the rice black). Add one cup of the black beans. Add one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon oregano, half a teaspoon cumin and one quarter teaspoon ground black pepper and one bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Sometimes you may need to add a little more salt.

Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low until the water evaporates, about twenty to thirty minutes. Check the rice and see if it’s soft, if it’s still a little hard, you can add a little more bean broth. Put a sheet of aluminum foil over the pot and then the lid. This helps to lock in all the steam. Give it a few minutes and check again. Fluff the rice and serve with your favorite meat.

Some favorites to try it with: Tasajo, Steak, Bacalao, Pork, Shredded Beef, just about anything if you’re Cuban.

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