I have had a few people ask me for some Costa Rica recipes so here we go. I am one of these people who take about 3 different recipes and make them my own.
The first thing I learned how to make in Costa Rica was Gallo Pinto. (You can’t translate this literally because it means spotted rooster.) Gallo Pinto is something that most Ticos (Costa Ricans) have every morning for breakfast. It is great with scrambled eggs and fruit. It took me several tries and failed attempts to get it right. And I’ll warn you that it is kind of a labor of love kind of recipe.
Here’s what you will need:
1 chopped onion
1 chopped red pepper
7 or so cloves of freshly minced garlic
cooked and drained beans (more information about this later)
Rice cooked in bean juice
about 1/4 cup Lizano sauce
1 bunch chopped Cilantro
So, If you are wanting to eat Gallo Pinto for breakfast on Friday, you will need to start this process on Wednesday. Sorry about that, but like I said, it is a labor of love kind of recipe.
Soak about a pound of dry beans over night in the fridge in water. You can use red beans or black beans.
The next day rinse the beans really well and cover with water. I place 2 garlic cloves in the water for extra flavor. Cook the beans as directed but leave them a little firm. Drain the juice and put in a container to cook the rice in tomorrow. Put the cooked beans and the juice in the fridge.
Later that day or the next day cook the rice as directed in the juice from the beans. I use about a 1 to 1 1/2 ratio so a little less water than usually recommended, so If I have 3 cups of liquid I use 1 1/2 cups of rice. You also want the rice to be kind of firm so don’t overcook. I cheat and use a rice cooker in the microwave. After it cools place in the fridge. *Tip: If you are making a rice dish (gallo pinto, fried rice), it is much easier to work with cold rice. So I refrigerate overnight.
And finally, the best part….putting it all together. First put your oil in the bottom of the large pot. Im not good at measuring but enough to fill the bottom. Let it get pretty hot and then add the chopped onion and red pepper.
When the onion starts to get clear add the minced garlic. Let that cook until it is fragrant.
Add the lizano sauce and stir……I am afraid to tell you that I think that this might just be a Costa Rica thing..:( I have heard that you can sub in Worcestershire sauce but I haven’t tried it. I also know that you can find it on amazon;) It is basically Costa Rica ketchup. We put it on everything.
Add the cooked beans and stir.
Add the rice and stir until everything comes together.
At this point feel free to add salt to your taste.
The final step is adding the chopped cilantro and stir.
At this point you will be able to tell if you cooked the beans and the rice correctly. I have mede it before and it was overcooked so it looked like a big bowl of oatmeal….and I have also undercooked it and it was too hard to eat.
Now I will tell you the best way to serve it…..
This recipe should give your family at least 2 mornings of Gallo Pinto, so I just leave it in the original pan and in the mornings heat up a large skillet with oil and let it get really hot, then add enough gallo pinto for your family and saute. It makes it taste fresh each time you reheat.
I hope you enjoy and message me if you have any troubleshooting questions!
Ground Beef Picadillo
Picadillo comes from a the spanish verb picar, which means “to chop.”
This recipe is very versatile. It can be used just as a main course, a filling for tacos or empanadas, and you can also make it vegetarian by replacing the beef with more veggies. The first time the kids and I had this we were at church and I immediately had to ask the woman who made it for her recipe. This is what she gave me…..
So, I took that and with the help of a friend made up my own recipe.
What you will need:
2 tablespoons oil
1 pound ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 chopped red pepper
3 cloves of freshly minced garlic
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of achiote (pictured below)
4 chayotes minced (I honestly don’y know if you can even get these in The States but potatoes work really well too) Here is what they look like. I think they are in the squash family
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lizano sauce (pictured in previous recipe)or Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef broth (I have also used chicken broth in a pinch and it was fine)
1 bunch of chopped cilantro (you done have to use this. I know some crazy people are not fans, but in my opinion it is what makes it so yummy!)
corn or flour tortilias, rice if desired
Saute onion in hot oil
add the beef, red pepper, garlic, and oregano and continue to cook until the beef is browned
add the chayote and broth and bring to a boil for 5 minutes
season with the anchiote, cumin, salt and lizano sauce.
cover and bring to a boil again.
cook over medium heat for about 2 min or until the chayote or potato is tender.
add the cilantro and combine
serve on tortilias, alone or on rice