Costa Rica (Costa Rican Recipes)
|Costa Rican cuisine does not have the variety and flamboyancy as many other cuisines in the Americas. There is a certain simplicity to the foods served yet that does not mean they are not tasty. Rice and beans are the most popular items eaten by Costa Ricans. Vegetables, such as those in the squash family, fresh fruits, and beef are also prepared in a variety of dishes. One of the most popular dishes in Costa Rica is call Gallo Pinto. It is a mixture of rice, black beans, onions, and cilantro. This dish is mostly eaten for breakfast but often it is enjoyed for lunch as well. A local hot sauce called salsa lizano is often dashed on top. Plantains are a popular fruit in Costa Rican cuisine. A plantain is in the banana family but is cooked instead of eaten raw like the typical sweet banana. When the plantain has a green skin it has a texture similar to potatoes yet has much more starch. A fully ripened one has a sweet texture that crosses between a sweet potato and a regular banana.|
Gallo Pinto (beans and rice)
1 lb (450 g) 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)
3 cups (700 ml) chicken broth or water
2 cups (350 ml) white rice
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.
Costa Rican Terrine with Coconut-Date Vinaigrette
3 large potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into large chunks
2 canned chipotle chiles, seeded
2 cups milk
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 teaspoons cold water
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 can (16 ounces) hearts of palm, drained, and patted dry
1 cup canned coconut milk
1/4 cup Coco Lopez
1 cup dark rum
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1 small onion, cut into l/2-inch dice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 dates, pitted and sliced
2 cups shaved coconut
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 pound mixed greens, washed and patted dry
1 loaf French bread
l/2 cup butter
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt to taste
To prepare the terrine, combine the potatoes, chipotles, and milk in a large saucepan. Bring the milk to a gentle boil and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the milk from the potatoes and set the potatoes and chiles aside. Return the milk to the pan and gently simmer until it has reduced to about l/3 cup. Meanwhile, press the potatoes and chiles through a coarse sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the salt, pepper, and olive oil, and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, dissolve the gelatin with the cold water and then stir in the boiling water. Set aside. Remove the milk from the heat and stir in the dissolved gelatin. Slowly blend this mixture into the potatoes until they are thickly textured. Line a 9 by 4-inch loaf pan (or other shaped pan, as desired) with plastic wrap; the wrap should extend over the edges of the pan by a couple of inches on all sides. Place one third of the potato mixture in the bottom of the pan and spread out evenly. Add a layer of half of the hearts of palm and then another layer of one third of the potato mixture. Add the remaining hearts of palm and top with the remaining potato mixture. Fold over the plastic wrap to cover the top layer and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
To prepare the vinaigrette, combine the coconut milk, Coco Lopez, rum, vinegars, and onion in a saucepan and reduce over high heat to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. When cool, whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the dates.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the butter in a small sauté pan; add the garlic and parsley and sauté 2 minutes. Cut the bread into l/2-inch-thick slices. Brush on the garlic mixture and add salt. Place slices on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until browned.
Meanwhile, unfold the top covering of plastic wrap from the terrine, and gently invert the loaf pan on a serving platter, running a knife around the inside edge if necessary. Carefully remove the plastic wrap and cut the terrine into slices. Garnish with the coconut, goat cheese, and greens and serve with the Herb Toast and vinaigrette on the side.
Costa Rican Tilapia
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, divided
4 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon sugar
6 tilapia fillets, about 5 ounces each
3/4 cup long-grain rice
1 cup chopped onions
2 oranges, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 ounces) black or pinto beans, drained, rinsed
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Marinade Preparation: Combine lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar. Add tilapia and marinate 15 minutes, turning once.
Bean and Rice Mixture: Cook rice and keep warm. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large, skillet or saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Add remaining garlic and onions; sauté until translucent. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro, oranges, tomatoes, beans, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, uncovered, until hot stirring occasionally. Transfer hot rice to a baking dish. Add bean mixture and blend. Overlap tilapia fillets on top and add marinade over fillets. Bake until the tilapia begins to flake.
Costa Rican Marinade
1/2 ts Grated lime peel
1/3 c Lime juice
1/4 c Tomato juice
1 tb Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 ts Vegetable oil
1/4 ts Salt
1/8 ts Red pepper sauce
2 Cloves garlic, minced
Mix all ingredients in shallow plastic, ceramic dish or resealable plastic bag. Add up to 3 pounds chicken, pork or beef. Coat with marinade. Cover dish or seal bag and refrigerate, mix meat occasionally. Marinade at least 8 -24 hours.
Black Bean Soup (Sopa de Frijoles Negros)
1 pound black beans
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
1/2 cup of diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 chopped green or red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
Cover beans with water and soak overnight. Cook with at least 7 cups of water for 3 hours. Add more water if needed. When almost soft add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, 1/2 cup of diced onion, 2 cloves of garlic (chopped), 1 chopped green or red bell pepper, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (use fresh only!),Salt and pepper.
Recommendations for serving:
Add fresh lemon juice, Tabasco, sour cream, chives, or green onions, or add one or two eggs, cook for another 2-3 minutes, serve with flour or corn tortillas.
1 lb. Yuca, fresh or frozen
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons flour
Salt and coriander to taste
Peel the yuca and boil it in salted water. Once cooked, remove from heat and drain. Make a puree and add eggs, butter, flour, cilantro and salt. Form little cakes. Fry in hot oil.
Salsa de Doña Elvia
4 (2 green or 2 red) large tomatoes
2 large vidalia or spanish onions
1 bunch fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)
1 cup lemon juice
2 cups vinegar
Chop tomatoes coarsely. Chop the cilantro and onions finely. Combine with lemon juice and vinegar. Let stand 30 minutes prior to serving (Makes about 4 cups).
Coconut Flan au caramel (Flan de Coco al Caramelo)
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup shredded coconut
Combine all ingredients in a blender for 3 minutes. Pour mixture in caramelized pirex dish and bake in double broiler for 45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool. Run knife around edges, to separate from de dish. Refrigerate.
Caramel: In a small saucepan, put the sugar to melt, stirring constantly. Pour the caramel on the dish and move it so it distributes evenly. If you don't like coconut, it can be omitted.
Hearts of Palm Salad (Costa Rica)
2 16-ounce cans of hearts of palm
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
ground pepper to taste
very small amount of salt
Drain the hearts of palm, cut them into ½-inch pieces, and put them into a large bowl. Stir in the red pepper, yellow pepper, and chopped parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, chicken broth, and olive oil. Drizzle the dressing over the hearts of palm mixture and toss gently. Season to taste with salt (optional) and pepper. Line a serving bowl with lettuce leaves, spoon the salad on top and serve.
Rice Pudding (Arroz Con Leche)
1 small can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of uncooked rice; 1/2 cup of water
2 sticks of cinnamon cracked
1 cup of evaporated milk
6 cup of milk; 1/2 cup of raisins
1 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
First, in a large cooking pot, add the water, 4 cups of milk, uncooked rice, cinnamon, evaporated milk, vanilla and nutmeg. Once on the stove, bring the liquid to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes. Then, add the sweetened condensed milk. Add a little water to the milk can and empty its contents into the pot, by this time the liquid should be simmering, on low heat. The milk should just barely simmer, with bubbles breaking only the outside edge of the surface. As the liquid begins to reduce, add the remaining milk in small
increments as you continue to stir. As you add the milk stir the mixture so that it cooks evenly. Continue to stir intermittently, until the liquid has become a gooey paste. Then add raisins and cook for an additional 10 minutes on.
Picadillo de Platano Verde (Tangy Platano Sauté)
2 green Platanos (Platains) diced into cubes
3 cloves garlic minced
1 medium onion minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red bell pepper diced
5 medium sized mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1,8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 packet Sazon Goya
3 tablespoons Salsa Lizano
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Green platain: First ensure that the green platains have been refrigerated overnight. This will make them easier to peel. To peel them, score it along one side of it’s length. With the knife partially under the skin begin to loosen it. Using your hands (thumb works real
good) peel the skin off . Then dice them into cubes. Once cubed put them in water and let soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a large sauté pan (medium heat), add the onions, garlic peppers and cilantro. Sauté these for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, Sazon Goya, Salsa Lizano, platains (drained) and salt/pepper. Stir this until the plantains are seasoned well. Add the
mushrooms and 1 cup of water. Cook covered over low medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.