Episode003 - The 'Yes, And' of Costa Rican Heritage

Poet and literature professor Shawn Bowers kicks up mouth-watering flavors as she prepares her native Costa Rican gallo pintorecipe. Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day, and nothing packs an energy boost more than a traditional Costa Rican morning meal of beans and rice…with a cracked egg on top. Wash this down with a cafe con leche and you’re on your way. Shawn’s cooking demo of her ultimate comfort food is just the beginning of a rewarding conversation surrounding cultural identity, food choices and the power of ‘the other’.

Shawn’s Pantry Must-Have: Sazón Completa, Salsa Lizano, can of black beans

Follow Shawn on Instagram @botanyfieldnotes and @theartofletterwriting

Pretty much…

Pretty much…

The beloved Salsa Lizano

The beloved Salsa Lizano

Shawn's fantastic dining room wall!

Shawn's fantastic dining room wall!


Shawn’s Gallo Pinto Recipe
…a shortcut for when you really miss home or have a hankering for Tico food

PRINTER-FRIENDLY PDF

Serves 2

Ingredients:
-1 cup of long grain rice
-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
-pinch of salt
-1 can of black beans
-heaping TBSP of Sazón Completa (available @Publix)
-Salsa Lizano to taste (available @Publix)

Process:
Prepare 1 cup of rice per package instructions or follow this “tico way”. Heat 2 teaspoons or so of olive oil in the bottom of a pot. Add 1 cup of rice and stir until the rice is coated in the oil and let it heat up for a couple of minutes. My mother calls this “toasting the rice.” Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, uncovered, adding a heavy pinch of salt. Once the pot reaches a rapid boil, cover, and turn the heat down, simmering for 20-30 minutes or until all the liquid is gone.

While the rice is cooking, open a can of black beans. You can prepare dry beans, but this takes forethought, and often, when the deep yearning for home hits, I want to make this meal immediately, so I always make sure to have a can of beans on reserve in my pantry. Heat black beans in their own juice in a skillet. I add Sazón Completa, a seasoning now readily available at Publix. I don’t measure this, but I’m guessing I add a heaping tablespoon to the beans. If you’re craving some heat, a splash of Texas Pete or some other hot sauce will do. I also liberally add Salsa Lizano, a Costa Rican sauce loosely equivalent to Worschestchire sauce. If you don’t have this on hand, you can omit this step or substitute a teaspoon or two or steak sauce. Simmer the beans on low, stirring frequently.

Adding a heaping spoonful at a time, combine the cooked rice into the beans, stirring until the rice is well incorporated into the dish. There should be no visible liquid.

Enjoy with bread, or my favorite a fried egg and some queso blanco (feta cheese is a decent substitute).

Buen provecho!