Monday, February 2, 2009

Moros y Cristianos, Pork Chops and Plantains

I've had some porkchops sitting around in my fridge needing to be cooked, and some ripe-ish plantains on the counter, so that seemed like a great excuse for another Cuban food extravaganza, thanks to Nathan's blog and all his great recipes!

To go with the porkchops and plantains, I decided to make Nathan's moros y cristianos, a wonderful black bean and rice dish. The exact recipe is here. I made mine on top of the stove instead of in a rice cooker, so it was a little different technique-wise than Nathan's recipe.

Here's what I did.

Nathan's Moros y Cristianos

The ingredients include:

black beans
long-grain white rice (I had to use medium-grain, as I had run out of long-grain)
extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped onion
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
crushed garlic
bay leaf

The first step is to pick over the beans and wash them very well.

Next, I put them in a cooking pot I had sprayed with non-stick spray, and added water (Nathan said 5 c. water for 1 c. beans).

I added about 1 t. of salt, too. Next, bring the pot to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for about 50 minutes.

After 50 minutes, I tested the beans, and they were juuuust right! Tender, but not falling apart. You can tell they are about there if you blow on the beans and the skins crack:

The brand of beans I bought was Goya, and they are usually pretty fresh. Older beans would take longer to cook.

Now, we need to save the bean cooking liquid to cook the rice in. Nathan says to reserve 3 c. of cooking liquid. I drained the beans over a bowl and poured the liquid into a glass measure. Ooops, I only had a little over a cup of liquid left! I had to add some water to bring it up to 3 c.

The next step is to wash the rice to prep it for cooking. It's important to wash the rice well to get rid of as much excess starch as possible. Here's what the water looked like after the first rinse:

You can see it's pretty cloudy. I washed it several more times, going through 10 or 11 changes of water. Finally the water was pretty much clear:

Now it's time to make the sofrito. I sauteed the chopped onion, bell pepper and crushed garlic in olive oil until tender and fragrant.

Now add the sofrito, cumin, salt and bay leaf to the rice in the pan.

Add the cooked, drained beans:

Finally, add the reserved bean cooking liquid:

Cover the pan, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to sit, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Then check the rice for done-ness.



While the rice was simmering, I started the porkchops. Again, this is Nathan's recipe, and it ROCKS! So simple, and so scrumptious!

I smashed 5-6 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 t. of salt. and 1 1/2 t. cumin together in a small bowl to make a paste:

Then I added the juice of 2 fresh limes to the paste, and rubbed the porkchops with this mixture.

Now the porkchops are ready to be panfried. I fried them over medium heat in extra-virgin olive oil, about 10 minutes per side.

Once the chops were done, I removed them from the pan and added 2 medium onions, sliced, to the pan drippings and sauteed them until they were very soft. This is about half-way through:

Once the onions were soft, I deglazed the pan with the juice of 1 fresh lime, and placed the porkchops back in the pan on their little bed of fried onions.

Platanos Fritos (Fried Sweet Plantains)
While the chops were cooking, I started the plantains. I have never successfully made fried plantains before, so I was keeping my fingers crossed! Nathan's recipe was very helpful.

This is what my plantains looked like.

Some were not completely dead ripe. I bought these last weekend on Sat., so they had been sitting on my counter for 9 days!

To peel them, I made several cuts lengthwise through the peel, and then eased the peel off with my fingers. In places not all the peel came off, so I had to cut it off with a sharp knife. (This happened with the less-ripe ones.)

Here are my little naked plantains, ready for slicing.

I sliced them on the bias, but I think I cut some of the slices too thin. Oh, well-- I guess I just need more practice!

Following Nathan's advice, I heated canola oil in a relatively small pan, to save on oil. Looking at Nathan's photos, I think I should have used more oil, enough to cover the plantain slices.

Nathan's plantains:

My plantains:

Nathan's plantains:

My plantains:

All things considered, the plantains turned out pretty well, although some were just a bit woody.

DC was very happy with his meal:


  1. OMG that looks really good!

    It makes me feel really happy to know someone else enjoys what I have to share (because I am a dork like that haha) Glad your family enjoyed it, your Moros look really good and so do the plantains, the way Plantains are cut (thickness, thinness, how ripe, etc. is all based on personal preference, so if you liked it that's all that matters :)

    Yum I'm craving what you cooked now! Haha.

    Probably the reason your black beans water yieled 1 cup of water is because our pots are different, mine has a valve and holds pressure in (it's not a pressure cooker that's just how the pot is) so the water doesn't evaporate as much probably.

    When making them feel free to drown the beans in water if you want, it'll be fine if you have extra-liquid you can just disgard whatever liquid you don't need. (I do that sometimes just to be safe)

    Thank you for being so kind and mentioning my blog :)

  2. Hi, Nathan-- that is so funny, you're craving your own food that I cooked!! Well, I guess there is no better compliment than that! Thanks so much!

    Your bean pot sounds interesting-- I don't think I have ever seen one like that! It must fuction kind of like the traditional mexican olla, to reduce the evaporation. Yeah, I was thinking I should just add more water to the beans to start with next time I make the Moros. Had some of the leftovers for lunch, mmmmmm!


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