Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican rice and beans)

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As you're reading this post, I'm in Costa Rica and perhaps I have eaten this dish today.  Last weekend, I started getting really excited about our upcoming trip so I decided to make a traditional Costa Rican breakfast for us to chat over as we planned the final details of our trip.  Gallo pinto is part of the traditional Costa Rican breakfast, and in preparation of our trip I decided to try my hand at cooking it. 

As you can imagine, just like with any traditional dish, there are several variations to be found.  I settled on this one, and am really glad I did.  We eat a lot of rice and bean dishes, and this may be my favorite yet.  The big distinction in this preparation is that some of the vegetables are added close to the end of cooking which helps them retain their freshness and add so much flavor.  I can't wait to see how close this dish comes to the real thing. 

Here is what you'll need:
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup Goya medium grain white rice
  • salt to taste
  • 1 small or medium onion, diced and divided
  • ½ small red bell sweet pepper, diced and divided
  • 3 tsp chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup, 1/2 can, black beans, liquid reserved
In a large pan on medium high heat, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and saute dry rice for 2 minutes, stirring as needed.  Add salt.  Add 1/2 of the diced onion, 1/2 of the diced pepper and cilantro to the pan and saute minutes, stirring as needed.

Add chicken broth to the pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes, resist any urges to lift the cover, until rice is tender.

Once rice is done, push rice to the edges of the pan leaving a well in the middle.  Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan inside the well, add remaining onion, pepper and beans.  Stir and saute for 2 minutes.  Add 1/4-1/2 cup of liquid from the beans to moisten the mixture and give it color.  Serves 4.

Comment (1)

yum! When I went to Costa Rica in high school for a mission trip we ate this all the time. I remember buying some "tico sauce" so I could make it at home.