Soak the dry black beans in water over night. You may also use pinto beans.
The next day, drain the water and give the beans a quick rinse. Add them to a pot with fresh water (about 5 cups) and bring it to a boil. Add the bay leaves and reduce to a gentle boil for about 1 hour uncovered. Add water as needed.
Dice the onion and mince the garlic.
When the beans have been boiling for about 45 minutes, start frying the bacon.
Remove the bacon and set it aside. Keep bacon oil in the pot.
Saute the onions for 1-2 minutes. If you are using green bell pepper, add them at this time as well.
Add the garlic & Mahatma® Rice Jasmine White Rice. Saute for another 1-2 minutes, making sure each grain of rice is coated in the bacon fat and turns golden & slightly puffy.
The black beans are ready when the water is dark and thick like this and you're able to easily squish the beans between your fingers.
Add the beans, bean water, & salt to the rice. I used about 1 tsp of salt. Add enough water to cover the rice by about an inch. You can add more water if needed. Note: if using cumin and Mexican oregano, add them now. If using canned black beans, add the entire can directly into the rice and an additional 1-2 cups of water.
Cook over medium heat uncovered until enough water is absorbed/evaporates and there is a thin layer of water on top. Reduce the heat to low and cover for 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat then fold in the bacon pieces while fluffing the rice and releasing some steam.
Best served with any Cuban meat dish and tostones (fried plantains).