Travel through Central and South America and you will notice regional variations on the traditional pot of rice and beans. In Costa Rica, the dish is gallo pinto, and it is served with eggs for breakfast, vegetables and meat for lunch and dinner, and as a snack in between. In Spanish, gallo pinto means “spotted rooster,” an allusion to the speckled appearance of the dish when the rice and beans are mixed together. This recipe comes from Franny Bravo Melgara, a cook at Hotel Pumilio in western Costa Rica. Melgara insists that the black beans are not soaked before cooking or their flavor will be lost.
|1||cup dried black beans|
|Salt, to taste|
|4||teaspoons olive oil|
|1||cup long-grain white rice|
|2||cloves garlic, finely chopped|
|1||medium onion, finely chopped|
|½||red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped|
|1||tablespoon chopped fresh
1. In a saucepan, combine the beans with 2½ cups of the water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
2. In another saucepan, combine the rice and remaining 1½ cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed.
3. Meanwhile, in a large flameproof casserole over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Cook the garlic, onion, and pepper, stirring often, for 8 minutes. Add the rice and beans, stir well, and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, if you like. Stir in the cilantro. Sena Desai Gopal. Adapted from Hotel Pumilio