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Picadillo de Vainica (green beans)
One of the most typical recipes found in Costa Rica are picadillos. Picadillo consists of small chopped vegetables seasoned with some meat, similar to a hash. There are hundreds of variables in both vegetables and meats to use. They are usually served as a side dish in the traditional casado and accompanied with tortillas.
Among the most popular picadillos in Costa Rican cuisine are the potato, chayote and vainica picadillo, and other less popular but equally delicious is picadillo de arracache and green papaya. The recipes and vegetables used vary according to the region of Costa Rica, but all have the common denominator of vegetables chopped into small pieces accompanied by some sort of meat.
My mom makes this picadillo on Tuesdays because she uses some of the meat from the Olla de Carne (she cooks a huge pot of Olla de Carne every Monday for dinner) to use it in this picadillo. Once you have the meat, it takes too much time to do it.
This particular recipe, is one of my favorites and I love to eat it with rice and black beans, all mixed together. I know it sounds weird but it is delicious!
Make your own variations, use other meats and, or other vegetables, even mix different vegetables. Be creative and have some fun!
Picadillo de Vainicas (Green Beans Picadillo)
1 pound of green beans
2 cups of cooked flank steak (shredded meat) *
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped pepper
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup water
* you can cook the meat in the pressure cooker the same way as when making carne en salsa.
In a medium-size pot over medium heat add some olive oil, onions, pepper, and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
In the meantime, finely chopped the green beans.
Add to the pot, the shredded meat, green beans, thyme, salt and pepper, and mix well. Add the water, cover and cook for 15 minutes, uncover and cook for 5 more minutes or until the green beans are soft.
When I was deciding what recipes to put in my cookbook, the chicken stew (pollo en salsa) was one of the first to be included. This simple dish has been on our table for many generations, mainly when eating a casado.
Even though I've been making pollo en salsa for years, I've never cooked it in an Instant Pot. So when I received my instant pot, it was obvious that this was going to be one of the first dishes to try out.
I modified my existing recipe (which you can find in my cookbook), and adapt it to be cooked in the Instant Pot.
I really love how it came out, and it was cooked much faster with the Instant Pot, not to mention I used only one pot to cook everything; win, win!
Pollo en Salsa
4 chicken thighs bone in.
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper
11/2 tsp achiote paste
4 garlic cloves minced
1 medium onion
1 big tomato
1/2 red bell pepper
2 cups chicken stock
Chopped pepper, onion and tomato and set aside. Turn on Instant Pot in sauteed setting for 8 minutes. Add a little bit of olive oil and add, onion, garlic, tomato, bell pepper, cumin, oregano salt and pepper and sauteed for 4 minutes.
Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes on each side often, mixing often. Add the chicken stock , cover and set the pressure cooker on high for 20 minutes. When done release the pressure and if need it, add a little bit more salt. I like to serve it with some of the juice over rice and beans.
Do you know what else is great about this recipe, is that you can shredded it and use this delicious chicken in tacos, salads or my favorite, chicken chalupas!
Gallo Pinto (rice and beans)
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2/3 cups of cook black beans (you can use can beans)
1 1/4 cup of cooked rice
2 tbsp chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped pepper
2 tbsp minced cilantro
1/2 tsp salsa lizano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
Heat up a pan over medium high heat, add olive oil and let it get hot. Add onions, peppers, cilantro, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, cook for 3 to 5 min until onion is translucent.
Mix in the beans, stir and reduce heat to medium, add the Lizano sauce, stir and cook for 5 more minutes.
Add the rice, stir and cooked for a few more minutes, to incorporate all the flavors in the rice. The time to cook it I will depend of how you like your gallo pinto, some people like it a little wet and some other like it a little toasted or dry.
I prefer it not too dry, so I cook it for about 5 to 7 min.
The best way to eat gallo pinto is with eggs, sweet plantains, cheese or avocado and of course, with a cup of coffee
Hi I'm Meli and I love food, I love cooking, I love eating, I love traveling and I love Costa Rica. I want to share a little bit of my culture through my food