When I was in Nicaragua two weeks ago (Oh, did I mention I was in Nicaragua? Were you wondering where all this Nervous Cook radio silence was coming from?), I experienced gallo pinto, a.k.a. "spotted rooster, a.k.a. the National Dish™ of both Nicaragua and Costa Rica for the first -- but definitely not the last, if I can help it -- time.
|I didn't make this particular plate, but I sure ate the heck out of it.|
I get the sense that rice and beans is to Central America and the Caribbean islands what barbecue is to the North American South -- regionally specific, hotly contested. You've got your Cuban style platillo Moros y Cristianos (black beans, bell peppers, oregano, sofrito), your Puerto Rican arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas and pork), Venezuela's pabellón criollo (with shredded beef and, often, plantains)…
And then, there's gallo pinto. Delicious, delicious gallo pinto. I couldn't get enough of the stuff while I was there, and now that I'm home, I've decided it needs to become a staple of my diet.
Good thing I thought to buy a bottle of Lizano hot sauce in Matagalpa -- it really does make all the difference. Get your own, make your own, thank me later.
|1 tbs olive oil|
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp Lizano hot sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups cooked (or canned) black beans
1 cup cooked long-grain rice
|Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil; when oil is slick and coats the bottom of the pan, add garlic and onions, cooking until soft (3–5min). Mix in hot sauce, spices and cilantro; cook until fragrant (2–3min). Stir in beans, heating through, then stir in rice (even better if the rice is slightly crispy-slash-overcooked). Warm through, and serve topped with more chopped cilantro or chopped onions. Fresh tortillas a bonus.|
Do you have a preferred style of rice and beans? Heck, do you have a preferred style of barbecue? I'm still trying to learn about regional cuisine here, people…