Hello, my lovely  friends!  Getting ready for the long weekend?
Today, I wanted to write a little bit about roots; about who we are and where we come from.  Yes, I love the show, Who Do You Think You Are.
I came to this lovely nation when I was eight years old, I was a third grader.  At that time there weren't many hispanics.  As a matter of fact, there was only one cuban boy in my third grade class and the rest were Irish, Italians, and Germans.  It didn't take long before I learned the english language. My parents never learned to speak english fluently, so they took me everywhere as their translator.  Try taking an eight year old to an insurance company and let him/her explain to an agent what type of policy you want.  It's not easy, especially when the child thinks a policy has to do with the police.
So, I grew up speaking english to my friends and spanish at home.  The fact of the matter is I speak, think, and dream in english.  The older I get, the more american I feel.  I believe our national anthem is beautiful, and there is not a time I hear it that I don't get teary eyed.  This is my country and I am proud of it, but................. when I hear Celia Cruz singing Quimbara, the rhythm takes domain over my body and she reminds me who I am and where I come from.  Celia Cruz was one of Cuba's greatest gifts to the world.  A few times, I had the privilege of dancing to her music while she sang live.  She was the epitome of life and AZUCAR was her trademark shout.
The parable of the story is that even if we tried, we can never forget where we came from or who we are. Y ahora, con ustedes, Celia Cruz!

                                                   Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco

It's only proper that today's recipe is Arroz Congri.  A cuban signature side dish that compliments our tables any day,  especially during the holidays.  This exquisite recipe was given to me by my friend, Anny.  Thank you, Anny!

                                                                  Arroz Congri

Ingredients:                                        Yield: 6 Servings

1 (12 ounce) package black beans

1/2 cup olive oil
3 cups parboiled rice (essential type of rice)

1 large onion, diced

1 large green bell pepper, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup dry cooking wine

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin powder

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled for garnish (optional)

                                                                   best for this recipe

Note:  If unable to get this rice in your neck of the woods, it's ok, do not panic. Use for favorite long grain type.


Rinse beans. In pressure cooker, cook beans in 9 cups  water.  Cook under pressure for 20 minutes.  When safe, open pressure cooker and make sure beans are tender.  Put aside.  In large skillet, sauté onion, green bell pepper, and garlic until translucent.  Add tomato sauce, salt, black pepper,  cumin and dry cooking wine; cook for 5 minutes.  Add beans only, to skillet, leaving liquid inside pressure cooker pot.  Stir beans with onion mixture until well incorporated; cook for 4 minutes.

Note: If you have a rice cooker, magnificent.  This is the time to transfer 1/2 bean mixture to rice cooker, add rice, 3 cups bean liquid, and bay leaves.  Let the rice cooker do its job.

If you do not own a rice cooker, it's ok.  Transfer bean mixture to a large dutch oven pan and follow instructions above.  Let to a boil and reduce to low temperature, top with lid and cook until rice is tender, about 20-30 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir.  Garnish with crumbled bacon, if desire.

Note:  I you need to make more amount of rice, simply add same amount of bean liquid and salt and pepper to taste.
You will have some bean mixture left.  Put contents in food processor and you a a great bean dip for an appetizer.

Buen Apetito, amigos!


Popular Posts