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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.


Rate or Review


  • 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.

  • presterjohn64 | 04/11/2018

    This was the most insipid bowl of rice & beans either of us has ever had. Comparing to other recipes- replace bacon w ham hock, up garlic, wine with cider vinegar (wine? Huh?) make some sofrito, & it might be good. Thankfully we had some ripe plantains to go with it so it could be salvaged.

  • FiveStonesBoutique | 07/08/2015

    I saw this recipe in Fine Cooking and I had to purchase the magazine because it looked tasty. It didn't disappoint. This recipe for Congri is a good one, especially when my two year old gobbles it up! I substituted jasmine rice as that's what I had already. Simple and easy to follow, and absolutely delicious.

  • seashine | 06/15/2015

    So tasty, didn't need so much as a grain of salt added. Super easy and delicious. Made it with the pork mojo and they were loved by all. Halved the recipe for a party of 5 and still had delicious leftovers. Made it ahead and heated in the microwave perfectly. Will make again and again!

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