Today is the one year anniversary of my trip to Costa Rica, so I thought it would be fitting to share my Gallo Pinto recipe with you. Gallo Pinto is a traditional dish of rice & beans that is served under many different names in Latin America. Gallo Pinto is the Costa Rican version, but THIS recipe is my trying-to-replicate-but-can’t-find-Salsa-Lizano version. It’s just about reached the taste of what I ate for pretty much every meal pretty much EVERY SINGLE DAY for almost two weeks while in Mastatal, CR, at Villas Mastatal, and at restaurants, hotels, “sodas” (local convenience store/cafes) and in the homes of Ticos. Seriously. For like, every meal.
At first I was kind of blah about it, but once I left Costa Rica I CRAVED it like a pregnant woman with the munchies (this is not an endorsement of drug use. Or pregnancy. I might need to look into getting a First Amendment lawyer o.0) and after some internet scouring and exactly a year of trying, this recipe was born. It’s amazing. Trust me. My friend Enrique (who is from Costa Rica) tried it and didn’t spit it out afterward! & he tried a sub par batch! That’s something quite like an ENDORSEMENT (“You keep saying that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”)
For the traditional recipe click here. Also, the pictures are better because this person has an awesome setup, and let’s be real, in my kitchen presentation doesn’t exist & the ingredients mostly disappear into my mouth before they can be displayed in pretty dishes.
*My measurements are not exact, but this is a REALLY EASY dish, you kind of can’t go wrong (unless you add too much red pepper, which I have done. Several times.) *This dish is traditionally pretty bland. My version is spicier. Feel free to reduce spices or omit pepper.
*if you want to fudge the recipe’s proportions, just remember to keep the rice to bean ratio ~about~ 3:1
YOU WILL NEED:
12-16oz of cooked black beans (you can keep the juice, or sub. 1/2 cup of water) I avoid using cans, dried beans are much more economical! & less sodium saturated
4-6 cups cooked rice (I use brown rice, because it’s healthier, but I’ve also used white, which is standard, and basmati, which worked well)
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 smallish onion, chopped (size really depends on how much you like onion)
3 cloves garlic (I use like…5 or 6, but I have a serious garlic addiction. You can sub for 1 tablespoon crushed garlic or omit it without serious taste-repercussions)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon (or less) red pepper (be careful not to squish the air out of the container & inhale the powder…it hurts.)
1 tablespoon of vegetarian/vegan Worcestershire sauce. (this is a sub. for Salsa Liszano, if you can’t find it. I’ve made it without either many times and it was still excellent)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or 3-5 tablespoons dried. Try not to omit this if possible! It really makes the dish. If you don’t have it on hand double the amount of coriander)
nutritional yeast- to taste (I have mine in a parm shaker and just dump it on)
Or if you’re into dairy:
grated cheese- to taste
sour cream- to taste
In a saucepan large enough to hold all of the ingredients heat the oil and then add your chopped onion. Cook until onion is translucent but not golden, and add garlic. Cook until the onion is just beginning to brown, and then add your beans + the juice or water. Adding a little salt won’t hurt it if you used water.
Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, and then add the cumin, coriander, and red pepper. If you’re not sure about the taste, now is a good time to taste & adjust, but remember the rice, which will cut the spices BUT NOT the hot peppery-ness. Trust me, young Padawans. I have had many a runny nose because of this. Let the spiced bean concoction simmer & meld for another 5 minutes (10 minutes total up to this point, in case you’re keeping time.)
Now is the time to add your Worcestershire sauce. You can add it after you stir in the rice, but I like to taste it & add more if necessary. Now carefully (so as not to splash) add your rice and stir it all together. Ideally, there should be a bit of liquid left at this point. If not, no big, just stir, stir, stir.
Cook until the rice is heated through, add cilantro & serve. I top mine with some nooch and then make it do a pretty good disappearing act.
Photo used under Creative Commons from La.Blasco