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Costa Rican Black Beans and Rice (Gallo Pinto)
Costa Rican Black Beans and Rice (Gallo Pinto)
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If you ever visit Costa Rica, you won't leave the country without tasting gallo pinto (black beans and rice). Gallo pinto is the national dish, eaten with just about everything and at every meal, even breakfast. This recipe comes straight from centenarian Panchita Castillo's kitchen.

Technique tip: Habanero chilies are extremely spicy. If you're not used to working with them, use only the smallest amount. You can always add more when you make this again. Never touch your hands to your eyes or other sensitive bits until you've rubbed them thoroughly with oil and washed them thoroughly with hot, soapy water.


    • 2 tablespoons corn, canola or vegetable oil
    • 1 small yellow or white onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 2 cups drained and rinsed canned black beans or drained and rinsed cooked black beans
    • 1½ cups long-grain white rice, cooked and drained without salt but according to the package directions (about 3 cups cooked rice)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
    • Up to 2 teaspoons seeded and minced habanero chili, optional


1. Warm the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds.

2. Pour in the beans and 1 cup water. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a full simmer, stirring gently to keep the beans intact. Gently stir in the rice, salt and pepper until combined and hot, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and habanero, if desired, before serving.

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