Friday, October 19, 2012

Gallo Pinto - Costa Rican Black Beans and Rice

Gallo Pinto, or "spotted rooster" is the national dish of Costa Rica and my personal favorite variation on black beans and rice, which is common to many cultures. If you want an authentic Tico meal - this is it! I've actually based this recipe on the one used by an older Tica woman who cooks for our mission teams when we visit Costa Rica.

SPOTLIGHT ON: Lizano Salsa and Chayote
What sets the Costa Rican version apart from the others is the chayote (chai-O-te) salsa it's often served with and a Costa Rican condiment called Lizano.

Lizano is a vegan vegetable-based condiment that's a staple the Costa Rican diet. You can order it from several places online, but snoop around your city first! I found some at a local Latin food store for about $5 a bottle! If you're not familiar with chayote, it's an apple-sized, light green squash with a wrinkled seam along the bottom. It kindof looks like it lost it's dentures... or like someone tried to make a Grandpa Pear muppet. :)

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 can black beans (not seasoned)
1 chayote
1 yellow onion
1 organic green bell pepper
1 tsp cumin (or to taste)
1 or 2 Tbs EVOO

1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
2. Drain the black beans, give them a quick rinse and heat them with the cumin in a small pot over med-low heat, stirring occasionally.
3. Warm the oil in a skillet and slice the bell pepper, chayote and onion. Add them to the skillet, cover and let them simmer over med heat until the rice is done, stirring occasionally.
4. Serve the rice, beans and chayote salsa in a bowl. If you have Lizano, and use it sparingly until you know how intense the flavor is. Otherwise, you'll need to add a little S&P.

Pura Vida!

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