Costa Rican Gallo Pinto with Heirloom Beans
If you’ve been to Costa Rica, it’s hard to imagine you not having tried Gallo Pinto. It’s delicious, easy to make and you find it everywhere. A branch of my family left California for Costa Rica in the 1970s so I have always felt ties to this beautiful country and this is the perfect nostalgia dish. Add a fried egg and a bottle of Lizano sauce to complete the picture. The recipe may seem complicated but you basically take rice, add some cooked beans in their broth, and mix them up. The red bell pepper is used for cooking but it’s also added at the end for more texture and a different flavor. I prefer brown rice but I don’t think this is very traditional. Speaking of Lizano sauce, it’s a kind of creamy Worcestershire sauce that you see in import stores and Latin markets. It’s very unique and easy to like. You can add the smallest splash of Worcestershire sauce (and I said smallest!) as a substitution but a Costa Rican would frown upon it. In Costa Rica, one would use black beans in most cases. In neighboring Nicaragua, they would make the same dish using red beans, like our Domingo Rojo. Recipe: Gallo Pinto For the rice: 1/2 onion, diced 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 red bell pepper, seeded, washed and chopped 1 tablespoon oil 2 cups white rice, rinsed 1 teaspoon Rancho Gordo Sal de Mar sea salt For the beans: 1 pound ck beRancho Gordo Midnight Bleans, cleaned and rinsed 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 red bell pepper, seeded, washed and chopped 1 teaspoon Rancho Gordo Mexican Oregano 3 teaspoons Rancho Gordo Sal de Mar sea salt To finish the dish: 2 tablespoons oil 1/2 onion, diced 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, washed and chopped 1. Prepare the rice by sauteing the vegetables in a large pan, in the oil, until soft. Add the rice and saute for 2 minutes. Add 3 cups water and the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and let cook on low until the water is absorbed. 2. Prepare the beans in a large pot by covering them by about 2 inches of water (roughly 2 quarts) with the garlic, pepper and oregano and bringing them to a rapid boil for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat until the beans are gently simmering and continue cooking until tender, about an hour and a half. Add salt. 3. When you’re ready to serve, normally, the next morning, in a large frying pan, saute the onion in the oil and when soft, add the cooked rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add the red pepper and then the beans. Continue cooking for about five minutes. The rice should be “painted” by the bean broth. Serve with Salsa Lizano (see note), cilantro, sour cream or any combination you like. Scrambled and fried eggs are a traditional accompaniment.