Lucky, lucky, lucky me, lucky son of a gun! I vacationed in Costa Rica for Christmas and had a shit load of fun! The heat hit me the moment I got off the plane. All I could think about were the fresh fruits and vegetables that must grow in this heat. And truly, they were incredible. It would be two weeks of picking through a fruit stand’s ripe mangos, of twisting the tops off of fragrant pineapples, of getting a local vendor to slice off the thick husk of a coconut so that I could sip its generous quantities of coconut water, and then eat the gelatinous coconut skin. I even got to taste a juicy Guanábana (Soursop) fruit we discovered at a small roadside market – I felt like a real Fruit Hunter. Glorious!
Also, I picked up a little breakfast ritual from my sister-in-law, Anaolga, who is originally from Guatemala, and therefore knew exactly how to cook with local produce. The first breakfast she made consisted of a pile of freshly diced tomatoes, avocado, scrambled eggs, and yet another pile of refried beans. This was accompanied by freshly toasted corn tortillas, cilantro, and hot sauce. A communal plate sat in the middle of the table as we each reached in to assemble our own breakfast tacos. I was totally enchanted by the fresh and simple flavours of the meal. That is why I am presenting my very own recipe for refried beans and instructions on how to assemble this delicious Tico, aka Costa Rican, style breakfast.
Yield: serves 4 to 6 people.
1 can of drained black beans
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 large Spanish onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
A handful of chopped cilantro
1 tsp. paprika
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
6 cups warm water
- Heat up 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a pot on medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and a 1/2 tsp. of cumin. Cook onions till translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the beans plus 6 cups of warm water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 1/2 hours, stirring frequently.
- After 2 1/2 hours, the water should have sufficiently reduced. If not, keep cooking until it is almost gone. Take off heat, and using a hand blender, purée the beans until you get a coarse paste. Stir in the chopped cilantro and let sit.
- In a frying pan, heat up 1 tbsp. of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the paprika and a 1/2 tsp. of cumin and heat till fragrant.
- Add the onions and diced chipotle. Cook till brown.
- Add the pureed beans to the onions and mix well. Set aside until the rest of the breakfast plate is ready to be served.
For the Rest of the Breakfast
2-3 tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, diced
6-8 eggs, lightly scrambled. Cook last so that they can be served warm and fresh.
3-4 corn tortillas per person. (Important note: Heat the corn tortillas in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, no oil necessary. Heat them until they get a little crisp but before they become too rigid and won’t bend without breaking, about 1 or 2 minutes. This step is mega important. If you do not heat the tortillas this way, you will probably find them gross-tasting and will go back to wheat tortillas, which is really not the same thing!)
A mild red or green hot sauce
A bunch of finely chopped cilantro
- Place each item on a communal plate so that you can all share this delicious breakfast. Enjoy!
I would like to give credit to Elise Bauer from Simple Recipes for helping me figure out quantities with a very helpful recipe she posted about refried black beans.