Finally another dinner recipe. It feels like forever since I have posted one, probably because it has been forever! Since I have no lighting setup, I rely on using natural light to shoot all my photos. As I’m sure many of you are aware, there is no natural light at dinnertime in the winter in Wisconsin. Which means that I either have to shoot my dinner foods with my kitchen lights (yuck!!) or make my dinner foods in the afternoon and refrigerate until dinnertime (maybe yuck, depends what it is). Anyway, now that the sun is up until 6:30PM, it won’t be a problem for the next few months. Yay!
Today we’re making Costa Rican Beans and Rice. If you’ve ever been to a Central American country, I’m sure you’ve eaten some variation of beans and rice. In many (including Costa Rica) it’s traditionally served 3 meals a day. The beans and rice may either be separate, or mixed together as they are here. What feels like many years ago now (though really, only 4) when Hubby and I spent 2 weeks in Costa Rica for our honeymoon, I’m fairly sure that I ate beans and rice at least once per day. AND, I never got sick of it! At breakfast it was often served with an egg and a piece of cheese. At lunch and supper, it would come with a piece of grilled meat and vegetables or salad. But I could do without the meat. After all, beans are a great protein source all on their own.
To make this dish, you first saute the veggies (onion, garlic and bell pepper) and the beans. Canned beans are fine here – use low sodium if you wish and rinse them clean. Go ahead and mash some of those beans up with your spoon to add more color and flavor to the rice. The best and easiest way to make this dish is with leftover, refrigerated rice. You know how rice gets kinda hard when it’s cold? That’s what you want. Same goes for if you make fried rice. If you use fresh, soft rice, it will just get mushy and you’ll end up with a congealed blob of rice and beans. Not so appealing. White rice is fine, but brown rice works great too – extra fiber of course.
If you’ve never been to Costa Rica, chances are you’ve never heard of Lizano sauce before. If you have been there, you’ll know that it’s on the table of every restaurant you visit – I LOVE it! It’s kind of hard to describe the flavor – almost like a cross between curry and Worcestershire. Different, but delicious. Using it in this rice definitely adds flavor, but it is hard to find in the US, and nearly impossible in Canada, though you can order it on Amazon and maybe find it in some Latin markets. If you don’t have it, give it extra flavor with whatever you like – hot sauce works well.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 medium bell pepper diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cloves medium garlic minced or pressed
- 14 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup Lizano sauce (optional see note)
- 3 cups cold leftover rice (either white or brown work fine here)
- 1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves
- salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, bell peppers and salt and cook until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in beans and cook until hot, mashing slightly with a wooden spoon. Stir in Lizano, if using. Add rice and stir until completely combined. Cook until hot. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.