Good morning, the Nicaraguan Way!
Per the request of some friends, I awoke early this morning to make you all breakfast! A complete "desayuno Nicaraguense!" In Nicaragua, a complete breakfast include: Gallo Pinto (rice and beans), fried plantains, eggs and other things such as fresh cheese and sour cream.
Since I now reside in the United States, I'm conscious of time and therefore I've made some modifications. In conclusion, quick and easy Gallo Pinto!
1 pound red beans (or 1-2 cans red beans)
1 cup white rice
1/2 bell pepper
Salt to taste
1. As far as the red beans, you can either boil your own beans or use canned red beans. If you choose to boil them, it is recommended that you let them soak the night before to speed up cooking time. But if you're busy like me and forget to soak them, you can simply wash the red beans, add twice the water as the beans to a pot and bring to boil. Let the beans cook slowly on medium heat. Add salt to taste towards the end of the cooking for tenderness. If you add salt too soon, the beans might not turn out as tender. When using canned beans, drain the liquid.
2. Rice. If in a hurry, you can steam white rice in a rice cooker or a pot. But if you want to be more traditional and make a less mushy Gallo Pinto, you may cook the rice as you boil the beans.
a. Sauté chopped yellow/white onion, bell pepper and cilantro to taste in about 1-2 tablespoons olive
b. Add 1cup of white rice without washing to a pan and sauté until slightly golden brown.
c. Add chicken broth or water to cover the rice.
d. Add salt or cubes of chicken bouillon to taste.
e. Cover and let it boil.
f. Reduce heat and let it cook slowly until the water is gone and the rice is puffy and soft.
3. When done cooking the beans and the rice. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan. Fry the beans and gradually add the rice. Serve immediately and enjoy!
4. Now, here's the quick U.S. way:
a. Use previously steamed rice or left overs.
b. Use canned red beans, drained.
c. Sauté onion, bell pepper, olive oil and salt in a pan.
d. Add drained red beans and white rice; fry until well-mixed.
e. Serve and enjoy without any guilt! After all, you have all day to burn the calories!!!
Note: Nicaraguans use red beans, Costa Ricans use black beans! Both taste delicious :-)
Modifications: Traditionally, lard or other types of oils are used. I've substituted olive oil or grape seed oil for a healthier meal!