Long long ago… well, 2010… mi madre and I went to Costa Rica. I had just completed my Master’s in Accounting and it was time to celebrate.
Here were are in the rainforest in Arenal. Shockingly… it was raining.
From the rainforest we headed down to Manuel Antonio for some sun, sand, and not rain.
I loved everything about Costa Rica. The volcano, the hiking, the beaches, the wildlife, and of course the comida tipico (authentic food).
Beans and rice are big time down there. As a vegetarian/pescetarian… it’s big time for me too. It was a match made in veggie heaven.
Probably my favorite souvenir from the trip. Salsa Lizano. It’s a vegetable based salsa. It’s tangy and flavorful, not spicy. It can take any beans and rice dish from “Oh, this is great” to “OH, this IS GREAT!” You see the difference?? It’s talking in CAPS good.
Don’t worry, this isn’t the same bottle since 2010. I found a great spot in Pike’s Place Market that sells this among other tasty Mexican, Spanish imported items.
While we were down there, another traveller told us the other secret to Costa Rican cooking. It’s Sazon Goya and it’s what gives the rice and beans this rich orangy-red color. It has achiote which provides the coloring and flavor along with coriander, garlic, and cumin. Mmm…
Comerse! (Eat up!)
Here’s how to do it:
Costa Rican Beans and Rice
Serves a small army.
1 lb. black beans (rinsed and soaked over night)
2 c. brown rice (the slow cooking kind)
1 onion, diced
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes (Rotel also works great with the green chiles)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small can V8 Tomato juice
1/2 tsp. cayenne
Salt, to taste
2 Packets Sazon Goya (If you can’t find that use some chili powder, cumin, and make your own spicy mix.)
Queso Fresco for topping (salty, crumbly Mexican ‘feta’)
After the beans have soaked overnight, rinse and cook the beans according to the package. Make sure they are thoroughly cooked, this may take some time but you really want to make sure the beans are softened but not overdone. I recommend taking a couple out throughout the process and tasting for ‘doneness’.
Once the beans have cooked, set aside and begin on the rice.
For the rice, in a large pan (cast iron like Le Crueset works great) begin by sautéing the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes or so. Add in the rice and toast for 2 minutes with the onion and garlic. Add in about 4c. of water with the V8 juice and the juice drained from the can of tomatoes. Also add in the Sazon Goya packets, cayenne, and salt. Stir all together and let it simmer away to cook the rice. Stir the rice occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
After the rice is cooked, add in the tomatoes and beans, mix and heat through.
To serve, simply fill up your bowl, drizzle with Salsa Lizano, and a little crumble of queso fresco.