Christmas Congri is everyone’s favorite side dish. There is no other dish better assembled to accompany the pork on Noche Buena. It’s perfectly cooked rice married together with beans and just the right sprinkle of bacon fat. It’s just the right side to absorb all the delicious lechon drippings, which leaves you with a perfect bite.
The dish has many names. It can be called Moros y Cristianos depending on the area in Cuba. But a rose by any other name, would be just as sweet. Same principle applies. Whatever you want to call this dish, Christmas Congri is going to be your go to recipe this holiday season.
Previously on our little blog, you have seen our Quick Weeknight Congri and our healthy Cauliflower Congri, but this is our Christmas Congri. What sets this Congri apart is the fact that it is cooked with rendering bacon and uses the bacon fat instead of oil to toast the rice and cook the dish. The rice cooks with the liquid of pre-cooked beans.
We don’t want to let it’s name deter you from making it any night of the week. This dish is perfect for your weeknight Palomilla, Churrasco, Pollo Empanizado. It works with everything. It is one of the tastiest sides we can pair with almost anything.
Let’s Talk About the Beans in Our Christmas Congri
We will not tolerate any Bean Shaming. So don’t come @ us to tell us the beans aren’t really Cuban unless they are fresh beans. We are of the belief that what matters most is that the beans get made. We do not want to deter anyone from making Congri. Therefore, you can take the pressure off.
The beans are up to you. You can use dried beans that have been soaked and boiled until completely tender or you can use canned beans. We’ve done it both ways and either way is delicious. Basically what we are saying is- just do it!!!
Our Tips for Making the Most Delicious Christmas Congri
- If you are using canned beans, be sure to empty out the beans into a large measuring cup. You will probably need to add some water to get you to 4 cups. This is the perfect ratio to make sure the rice has enough liquid to cook and to make sure there is an even amount of rice and beans.
- Try to avoid using a sweet or flavored bacon, it can change the flavor of the congri.
- We like to make our congri classically with black beans, but you can also use small red beans to resemble Central American gallo pinto.
Christmas CongriCourse: SidesCuisine: CubanDifficulty: Easy
4 cups of beans with liquid OR 2, 15-ounce cans of
black beans (I like Kirby criollo seasoned beans) *see note
1, 12-oz package of bacon, cut in 1/2 -inch chunks (try to avoid using a sweet or flavored bacon)
2 cups of rice, rinsed and drained
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 bay leaves
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 teaspoons of sazon
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
- Be sure to pour out the beans into a measuring cup. You will need 4 cups of beans with liquid.
- In a medium pot, add the bacon. Render on high for 6-8 minutes until it is completely crispy.
- Add the onions, bay leaves, sazon, salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes or until soft and cooked. .
- Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic and saute for another 3-5 minutes.
- Once the garlic has cooked through, raise the heat to high. Add the rice. Let it cook with the onions and toast for 2-3 minutes.
- Then add the beans with their liquid. Stir to combine and make sure there is enough liquid.
- Be sure it starts to boil, cover with a tight light. Leave on high for one minute then drop the heat to low.
- Simmer on low for 20 minutes until it is ready.
- Once it’s done, fluff with a fork and serve hot. If you want to garnish with parsley and more bacon you can do so before serving