She said she learned to make it like this from some Haitian friends that lived in Cuba at the time she was there.
This is not an authentic "Congri" but very similar to it, I know how to make a more authentic "Congri" but I will make it some other time.
Honestly I will almost always pick my "grandmas way" over authentic, because her cooking when I make it reminds me of her and brings up child hood memories of her food and comfort. I want to preserve that and share my cooking with others and pass it to future generations of my family.
I guess this dish is an example of Haitian influence on Cuban cooking. When I make the "authentic" "Congri" I will explain the whole story about "Congri" and how in Western Cuba "Moros y Christianos" done with black beans is more popular and in Eastern Cuba (El Oriente) prefers red beans and makes Congri usually instead of "Moros"
-2 cups rice
-1 cup red beans (like red kidney beans or something similar)
-1 cup coconut milk
-2 cups red bean broth (I'll show how to make it)
-9 cups water (to cook red beans)
-1 medium to small green bell pepper minced or 1/2 a large green bell pepper minced
-1/2 onion minced
-4 cloves of garlic crushed and finely minced (preferably through a garlic press or a mortar)
-salt to taste (I used like 3 teaspoons for the whole dish)
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-2 tabelspoons Coconut Oil or Lard/ pork fat to fry/suatee "sofrito" (You can use Extra-Virgin Olive Oil to but this dish is at it's best with Coconut Oil or Lard I used Extra-Virgin Olive Oil this time because I didn't have Coconut Oil and forgot I had a tub of lard in the fridge)
(1)Sift rice on a strainer to get rid of tiny broken grains. Rinse about 3 times until water runs clear swooshing and rubbing to get rid of any excess starch. Now place back on the strainer and let it drain well leave it alone until your beans are ready for the rest.
(2)In a medium pot rinse red beans well, add 9 cups of water stir, bring to a boil on high then cover and simmer on medium low for about 60 minutes. (IMPORTANT DO NOT PRE-SOAK OR OVERCOOK BEANS OR MAKE THEM SUPER COOKED BECAUSE YOU WILL RUIN THE WHOLE RECIPE BECAUSE IF BEANS ARE OVERCOOKED THEY WILL RELEASE STARCH WHEN COOKING WITH RICE AND THE RICE WON'T ABSORB LIQUID AND OU WILL END UP WITH A MESS! IT'S HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE!)
(3)The beans should be soft but not really mooshy and falling apart easily. They should be able to hold it's shape because you will cook them an additional 30 minutes with the rice.(4)Drain beans and SAVE the red bean broth (this will give the rice a nice color and has to be used to cook rice)
(5)Pur rice in rice cooker, add red beans, 2 cups of red bean broth, and 1 cup of coconut milk (you can freeze any leftover coconut milk use in any other dish). Set aside.
(6)Heat Coconut Oil or Lard in a frying pan on medium high or medium and then when warm enough sautee minced onions, bell peppers, and garlic until fragrant and onion is translucent (this may take like 5 minutes or more) stir every now and then.(7)Add the sauteed onion, bell pepper, and garlic mixture with oil and all to the rice and beans and stir in gently.
(8)Season with salt (I used 3 teaspoons the liquid will taste salt but once it is fully cooked it will be just right, because rice absorbs lots of flavor and you gotta have enough salt to flavor rice, beans, and sofrito (sautee). Then add ground cumin and also stir in gently I fold carefully I don't want to break any of the beans and have it release stach.
(9)Cover and turn on rice cooker, when done fluff rice and everything and it's done.
I love it the rice is a very light redish pink color because of the red bean broth and coconut milk mixture. The rice was perfect it was moist but not mooshy. It was very slightly al dente but it's suppose to be like that.
If your final dish is slightly dry in your opinion then just splash a little bit of leftover bean broth fold in gently and cover for awhile it should moisten (I always get it perfect now days though ;) If it ends up to moist, simply get a paper bag, cut it place it on top and press slightly then cover for a while turn rice cooker back on and wait for like 10 minutes.
If it's still not right then you are screwed love ;) BUT IF YOU FOLLOW EVERYTHING EXACTLY AS I STATED THEN YOU SHOULD GET A PERFECT RESULT. (assuming you used regular long-grain white rice like Mahatma or something)
ALSO sometimes my grandmother would add unsweetened shredded coconut or fresh grated coconut to this