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Gallo pinto, literally "spotted rooster," is ubiquitous in Costa Rica (and apparently all of Central America). It refers to black beans and rice cooked together, which are served at every meal, surrounded by various side dishes. It’s easy to make and very healthy.
|Time||45 minutes (plus bean soaking and cooking)|
|Directions||Remember to soak beans the night before and then cook until very tender, reserving the cooking water. It’s not difficult, and they are so much better than canned beans.
Heat 1 T oil over medium heat, then pan fry the rice, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes, until shiny. Stir in onion, garlic, peppers, cilantro, and cumin and sauté 2 more minutes. Add hot water, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer without stirring until water has evaporated and rice is cooked, about 25-30 minutes.
Transfer rice to a bowl and add the remaining oil to the pan. When it’s hot, add the rice, beans, and a half cup or so of the reserved bean cooking water, and fry until hot, adding more water as needed to achieve desired consistency. Taste and add more salt, onion, peppers, and/or cilantro to taste.
|Notes||Gallo pinto will keep for at least 4 or 5 days in the fridge, and a month or more in the freezer, so don’t hesitate to make a big batch and then refrigerate or freeze it.
I love gallo pinto topped with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream, or served alongside fried plaintains and sliced avocado.
Costa Ricans eat gallo pinto for breakfast with fried or scrambled eggs, or for lunch or dinner with meat or fish.
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Laura K. Lawless
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