20 July 2014

Is It Still Gallo Pinto?

Gallo Pinto* is THE national dish** of Costa Rica, and I loved making it when we lived there:
  1. Heat oil in a heavy pot
  2. Add chopped onion and chopped sweet red chile (red bell pepper can be used, but it isn't exactly the same); cook till caramelized
  3. Add cooked, drained black beans (some like red beans, but under NO circumstances should you use pinto beans)
  4. Add cooked white rice
  5. Stir in chopped cilantro (coyote is best, but hard to find outside Costa Rica), Salsa Lizano, and black pepper
  6. Heat through
This is a side dish served at any meal (although, oddly enough, lunch usually has the rice and beans served separately).

Over time, my version morphed a bit :-)
  1. Rick determined that Lizano didn't agree with him, and I liked the texture when I added the soup from cooking the beans, so I made the exchange.  Also, it is nearly impossible to get Salsa Lizano except in Costa Rica...
  2. I had the Caribe version, made with coconut milk, and fell in love!  So I occasionally added that (honestly, it's to die for).  I also sometimes like to add ginger.
  3. Then, I made it a full meal (sort of a stove-top casserole) by adding chopped veggies and cubed meat
  4. Several years later, we decided to reduce our consumption of whites, and so I replaced the white rice with brown rice 
  5. Then we Slow-Traveled to New Mexico, KNOWN for its most excellent Green Chiles, and I added that (OMG, YUUUUM!)
  6. And finally, in its latest incarnation, I had leftover barley, and used that instead of rice.  :-\ 
Although it is now unrecognizable, even more changes are on the way, I'm sure :-)

* translated as Speckled Rooster ('cause, you know, it looks speckled)

** There is even a Gallo Pinto festival each year in San José, shutting down the Paseo Colon (the main East-West road through the capital)

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