I love this picture I took of the big sacks of beans at our neighborhood market. My sister and I lived with families in central Costa Rica, a lovely lil town called Heredia.
Anyone who travels to Costa Rica knows about gallo pinto. We ate it everyday and it was awesome! My Mama-Tica made it so yummy I'm salivating just thinking about it. It's a traditional rice and beans dish with delicious spices, cilantro, onions and peppers.
*Mama-Tica is the term referring to my host mother (Tico/Tica is what Costa Ricans refer to themselves as)
Gallo Pinto Recipe
1 lb dried Black beans
8-10 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 medium onion
½ small red or yellow sweet pepper
3 cup chicken broth
2 cups white rice
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1-3 Tablespoon oil to fry the Gallo Pinto
If beans are dried, cover with water and soak overnight. Drain the beans and add fresh water to an inch above the top of the beans, salt, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce heat to very low simmer until beans are soft (~3 hours).
Chop cilantro, onion, and sweet pepper very fine.
Add 1 Tablespoon oil to a large pan and sauté the dry rice for 2 minutes over medium high flame then add half of the chopped onion, sweet pepper and cilantro and sauté another 2 minutes. Add water or chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer until rice is tender (20-35 minutes).
Once the rice and beans are cooked you can refrigerate or freeze them. Keep a significant amount of the “black water” with the beans (½-1 cup 120-240 ml). This is what gives the rice its color and some of its flavor. Sauté the rice, beans reserved chopped onion, sweet pepper and cilantro together in vegetable oil for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a little fresh chopped cilantro just before serving.
Once the rice and beans are cooked you can also refrigerate or freeze them. Make up small batches of Gallo Pinto when you want it by simply sautéing them together.