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Congri (Cuban Black Beans & Rice)

Gabriella Herman

Servings: 10

Congri is enjoyed all over Cuba, but it’s prepared a little differently from town to town. My mother’s family is originally from Oriente, where it’s made using red beans. But in Havana, where they moved in the late 1940s, the black bean version is more popular and the one I prefer.


  • 1 lb. dried black beans, rinsed well
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil; more for finishing
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 430
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 45
  • Fat (g): 5
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Cholesterol (mg): 5
  • Sodium (mg): 1070
  • Carbohydrates (g): 77
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 16


  • Put the beans and bay leaf in a 4-quart saucepan and cover with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, adding more water if necessary to keep the beans covered by 1 inch, until just tender with a little bite, about 1 hour. Season with 1-1/2 Tbs. salt.
  • Put the bacon and oil in a 6- to 8-quart pot. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly crispy, about 7 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, oregano, cumin, and 1-1/2 Tbs. salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat up to high, add the wine, and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring to coat, for about 1 minute. Add the beans and their liquid, stir well, and add enough water to cover the beans and rice by about 3/4 inch.
  • Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, cover, and turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the water is absorbed and the rice and beans are both tender throughout, about 17 minutes. (Do not stir the rice and beans while cooking; it can make the rice clumpy.) Season to taste with salt. Just before serving, fluff the rice, stir in the cilantro, and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make the rice and beans two days ahead and refrigerate in a covered container; reheat it in a microwave to keep it moist. Wait until just before serving to stir in the cilantro and drizzle with olive oil.


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Reviews (6 reviews)

  • Krispie | 09/02/2019

    I made this along with the Lechon Asada and the Ensalada de Aquacate y Pina (both from the Fine Cooking) for a larger group and it was wonderful. That being said, I cut the recipe in half and still had enough to feed 10! I will definately make this collection of recipes again when I have a larger group coming for dinner.

  • havanamama | 08/27/2018

    Hi, just FYI, Congri uses red kidney beans. Otherewise, the black bean version is Arroz Moro.

  • Erzulie | 04/16/2018

    Made this when I first saw it...was surprised it reminded me of NYC and a Cuban friend of mine made Congri w/her mom's recipe. Just made it again today and added diced chicken breasts in w/bacon. I know this is not traditional alas my inquisitive nature got the better of me. I did add a tad more garlic though.

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