When I lived in Costa Rica this was a staple that we ate about three times a day! Very tasty and good for you! I use brown rice and cook a little longer, it tastes great that way. Now we enjoy this meal at least once a week for dinner and a couple times a week for lunch.
1 lb (450 gr.) Black beans. Fresh are best but most likely you’ll find them dried.
8-10 sprigs cilantro (coriander leaf) fresh or frozen, not dried!
1 small or medium onion
½ small red or yellow sweet pepper (optional, sometimes I add purple cabbage if I don’t have any sweet peppers)
3 cups (700 ml) chicken broth or water
2 cups (350 ml) white rice (I use brown rice and it’s just as good)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
1-3 Tablespoon oil to fry the Gallo Pinto
If beans are dried, cover with water and soak overnight, if they are fresh, just rise them off. Drain the beans and add fresh water to an inch (2.5-cm) above the top of the beans, salt, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce heat to very low simmer until beans are soft (~3 hours).
Chop cilantro, onion, and sweet pepper very fine.
Add 1 Tablespoon oil to a large pan and sauté the dry rice for 2 minutes over medium high flame then add half of the chopped onion, sweet pepper and cilantro and sauté another 2 minutes. Add water or chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer until rice is tender (20-35 minutes). This is also the recipe for Tico rice used in other favorites like tamales.
Once the rice and beans are cooked you can refrigerate or freeze them. Keep a significant amount of the “black water” with the beans (½-1 cup 120-240 ml). This is what gives the rice its color and some of its flavor. Sauté the rice, beans reserved chopped onion, sweet pepper and cilantro together in vegetable oil for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a little fresh chopped cilantro just before serving.
Once the rice and beans are cooked you can also refrigerate or freeze them. Make up small batches of Gallo Pinto when you want it by simply sautéing them together.
In Guanacaste they sometimes use small very hot red peppers instead of or in addition to the sweet. Some people add a tablespoon or so of salsa Lizano or Chilera to the beans while they’re cooking. Our friend Mercedes always simmered the beans very slowly all-day and preheated the water or chicken broth for the rice.