MOROS Y CRISTIANOS
(beans and rice)
12 ounces dry black beans
2½ cups long white rice
5 cups chicken stock
1 green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
2½ tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Makes 6 bowls. Takes 2½ hours.
Add beans to pot. Add enough water to cover beans with 1″ of water. Bring to boil using high heat. Let boil for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Again add water until beans are covered by 1″ of water. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until beans are tender. Drain.
While beans simmer, add rice and chicken stock to pot or rice cooker. Cook rice according to instructions on package.
While beans still soak and rice cooks, seed bell pepper. Dice bell pepper, garlic cloves, and onion. Add bell pepper, garlic, onion, and olive oil to Dutch oven. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add black beans from pot, bay leaf, cumin, oregano, pepper, salt, vinegar, and tomato paste. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add rice with chicken stock to Dutch oven. Stir and serve with sofrito.
1) The Declaration of Independence of 1776 voiced America’s most cherished ideals in such a forceful and plain manner as to compel the assent of the world’s powers to America’s right to nationhood.
2) It was also a practical document listing all the things King George III of Britain did to annoy, vex, and hamper the commerce of The Thirteen Colonies.
3) One action that stands in my mind is how George and his ministers hampered the New England fishing fleets. The seamen clamored for the removal of these restrictions. It didn’t happen.
4) It became clearer and clearer that the only way for the fishermen to get a sympathetic National Fisheries Department was to create a new nation.
5) In 1773, the British sent regiment after regiment of infantry to Boston to suppress Boston’s surly and increasingly unruly fishermen. The redcoats stormed one bay-side warehouse after another carrying off cannon, muskets, and weapon-grade fish hooks. Surely, Boston was ripe for revolution.
6) But nothing happened. Boston baked beans had made the culinary scene. All the inns and taverns from New Hampshire to New Jersey served this new entree. It was so good. It is still so good. Diners became contented, contented enough to put revolutions and reality shows on hold.
7) In 1775, however, King George and his council made a truly egregious blunder. They omitted all types of carrots from the list of foodstuffs that could be grown in the colonies. From that moment on, carrots could only be imported from England on English ships.
8) These “carroty omissions,” an anagram for “Moros y Cristianos,” devastated the carrot farmers of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Georgia. Passions ran high. Royal carrot enforcers were hung in effigy; their homes stormed and ransacked.
9) New England’s merchant fleet stayed in port. With no carrots to ship from the south to ship to carrot-starved Boston, there was no reason for them to venture out. Unemployment soared in all Thirteen Colonies.
10) Unemployed people tend to do two things, congregate at skateboard parks and foment revolution against the mother country. There were no skateboard parks in 1775. Revolution loomed.
11) On February 7, 1775, Samuel Magpie got up before the Pennsylvanian legislature to thunder, “Give me carrot cake or I’ll hold my breath until I turn blue.” Only a few people noticed. However, Patrick Henry was one of them.
12) Patrick Henry was an omnivore, a person or animal eating both fish and carrots. He knew the spark needed to inflame people’s hearts needed to be broader.
13) So on March 23, 1775 he addressed the Virginia Convention, “Give me liberty of give me death.” This was sheer brilliance. He had stood up for the rights of farmers to grow carrots and fishers to fish, while simultaneously creating a metaphor for ending political oppression. The fired-up conventioneers voted for a national convention. The Declaration of Independence would be signed a scant year later. Seven years more, America would become a new nation.
14) The great world powers took this lesson to heart.. Ever since then, no nation has dared to enact anti-carrot legislation. Carrot salad, anyone?