Aaaaaaand we’re back. Tanned, relaxed and missing the monkeys. Here’s a recipe to whet your appetite; more to come about our full adventure!
Even though the beaches and tropical forests feel very far away on this cold rainy day, we can still eat as though we’re in Costa Rica. Costa Rican cuisine is simple, with beans and rice at the heart of every meal. One of our favorite dishes was Arroz con Pollo, which we often ordered at the sodas, or causal diners, that are common in every city. This was from Soda Naranjo, one of our favorite eateries in Montezuma. My recipe, below, is inspired by this dish, but isn’t necessarily authentic.
Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)
2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
3 Tbs vegetable oil
2 C long-grain white rice
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 small carrot, shredded
1 tsp dried oregano
1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes
3 C chicken broth
1. Add oil to a large, deep frying pan that has a lid. Heat over medium-high. Add chicken pieces and brown on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside.
2. Add rice to pan and cook for a few minutes until lightly browned, stirring regularly. You can add another 1 tsp of oil if it seems too dry. Add onion, cook until translucent. Add garlic, bell pepper and carrots. Cook until softened. Add oregano.
3. Stir in tomatoes (and their juice). Return chicken thighs to pan, placing them skin-side up on top of the rice. Pour in chicken broth.
4. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over medium-low until rice and chicken are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can either chop the chicken and mix it back in, or serve a chicken thigh on top of each serving of rice.
Suggested side dishes: fried plantains, avocados, cabbage salad and cucumber slices. Or, pile on french fries for a true Costa Rican experience!