Congri is a typical Cuban side dish made from black beans and black bean broth. Usually, when you cook dried black beans and you want to prepare this dish later, you need to use enough water to generate the amount of broth required for congri. Because of this, preparing congri from a can is difficult and is typically not done.
But I like congri, a lot. And sometimes I just crave it and do not have black beans in the fridge to prepare the dish. I’m all about fresh and slow cooking, but I understand that there are times when slow cooking just isn’t possible. And this is where canned black beans come in. It’s not going to come out as dark or as strong as a traditional congri, but this definitely serves to satisfy the crave.
So this is my quick congri recipe. It’s a two step process. First, prepare the beans. This will take about 15-20 minutes. You can make the beans in advance. The second step is the rice, which takes about 35 minutes.
- 1 can of black beans
- 2 onions
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 1 green pepper (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon of Adobo
- 3/4 teaspoon of cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
- 4 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 table spoons of olive oil
- 1 cup of rice
- salt (1/2 teaspoon or to taste. adobo is sometimes salty)
- 1 1/2 cup water
Step 1: Prepare the Cuban style black beans from a can
- Pour one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and heat for about 30 seconds, then add one chopped onion, pepper (optional), and cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat until onion is soft. Then add the spices: cumin, oregano, cloves, adobo, 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant
- Add in the canned beans with the canned broth and stir with vegetables. Add 6 cloves of garlic and bay leaf. Using the same can, add 1 cup of water. cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Step 2: Prepare the Congris
- Rinse the rice
- in a 2 qt pot pour in the remaining oil and heat for about 30 seconds, then add the chopped onion and the remaining garlic. Cook for 3 minutes until the onion becomes clear. Taste the beans in step 1, if they are salty do not add additional salt, but if salt is required, add approximately 1/4 teaspoon and a pinch of adobo.
- Add the rice and mix with the vegetables. Cook for about two minutes.
- Add the black beans from step one and another half cup of water and cook for about 25 minutes until the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Taste, if rice is slightly al dente, add just a bit more water. Cover the rice and cook on low for about 5 minutes. Then turn off burner and let sit for another 3-5 minutes.