TRADITIONAL COSTA RICAN GALLO PINTO RECIPE
Photo by Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz under license by CC BY-SA 4.0
Gallo pinto, served for breakfast with fried eggs, plantain, bacon, avocado, a corn tortilla and sour cream.
Gallo pinto is a traditional Costa Rican dish consisting of a rice and beans base.
The beans are quickly cooked until the juice is almost consumed, then combined with rice and other ingredients to include cooked bell peppers, chopped onions, and garlic.
Gallo pinto means spotted rooster in Spanish. The name derives from the multi-colored, speckled appearance that results from cooking the rice with pinto beans.
At breakfast it is often served with fried eggs or plain Costa Rican cheese. At other meals it is a side dish to pork, chicken or fish. There are many variations on the theme.
Some aficionados prefer black beans, while others prefer red. Garlic, carrots, and other vegetables can be added. as wwell as grated coconut.
GALLO PINTO INGREDIENTS
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
- ½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
- 2 cups of cooked, short grain white rice
- 1-2 cups of cooked black or red bean, undrained
- 1/3 cup of finely chopped cilantro, for garnish
- 1 ½ tablespoons Salsa Lizano, or Worcestershire sauce.
GALLO PINTO PREPARATION
- 1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on a medium heat.
- 2. Add finely chopped onions, pepper and garlic.
- 3. Saute to soften, but not to brown, until onions are translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- 4. Add the cooked beans with their liquid and simmer over medium heat until about half of the liquid has reduced, but the mixture remains moist, about 5 to 7 minutes. Should the pan go dry, simply add more bean cooking liquid or water, a few tablespoons at a time.
- 5. Add the rice when there is a little liquid from the beans remaining. Too early, and it'll be soupy. Too late and it'll be dry. Add the cooked rice at a 3-to-2 or 2-to-1 rice-to-beans ratio.
- 6. Stir, mixing the ingredients well.
- 7. After adding the rice, add Salsa Lizano to taste.
- 8. Simmer on very low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until all excess liquid is absorbed.
- 9. When done, fold in the fresh cut cilantro.
- 10. Serve warm.
GALLO PINTO RECIPE NOTES
Costa Ricans traditionally spice Gallo Pinto with Salsa Lizano, a tangy, smokey, flavorful condiment produced in Costa Rica and available on Amazon and in some hispanic markets. It's a thin, smooth, light brown sauce either used while cooking or tableside. Slightly sweet and acidic, with a hint of spiciness lent by black pepper and cumin, ingredients include water, sugar, salt, vegetables (onions, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers), spices, pepper, mustard, turmeric, modified corn starch, hydrolized vegetable protein and sodium benzoate. Worcestershire sauce is a worthy substitute.
For best results, use day- or two-old rice and beans kept in the refrigerator.