Here's another post in my favorite series:
This time, we're going to venture away from Cuban cuisine and travel to a country that I've actually visited: Costa Rica. I went to Costa Rica with my family when I was in high school, and again with my husband (who was my fiance at the time) when we graduated from PT school and law school, respectively. Those two trips were very different. Vacationing with my family involved lots of outdoor activities and lots of sightseeing around the area. Vacationing with my husband involved a lot more relaxation...and quite a few more tropical cocktails by the pool. Both trips had one thing in common:
Costa Rican food is amazing. Pure and ingredients, incredibly fresh produce, and talented local chefs made for one great meal after another. Perhaps the most famous dish of Costa Rica is gallo pinto, a unique combination of black beans and rice.
By the way, the name gallo pinto means "painted rooster" or "spotted rooster." I think that's a pretty accurate name:
When we got back from Costa Rica, we immediately started experimenting with recipes. I finally found one that brought us back to our days in paradise. Best of all, it's pretty easy! If you have some cooked rice lying around, it's a great way to spice it up and turn boring old leftovers into a new and exciting side dish.
Gallo Pinto (adapted from Recipe Zaar)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups cooked rice
2 cans Goya black bean soup, heated and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced (optional)
2 sliced green onions (optional)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until it just begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to sauté until onion is golden.
Add spices and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well to combine.
Add beans and rice. Combine well and cook until it is heated through.
The gallo pinto will have a cohesive consistency...think fried rice. Use an ice cream scoop to serve neat compact servings. Garnish with cilantro and green onions. Serve alongside just about anything...but my favorites are plantains or empanadas!
Have you traveled somewhere and fallen in love with a local dish? What was it?