Chifrijo (Costa Rican Crispy Pork, Rice and Beans), photo by Sonia Mendez GarciaPhoto by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Chifrijo (Costa Rican Crispy Pork, Rice and Beans)

Cuisine: Costa Rican
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6 servings
This delicious Costa Rican salad is made with pork and beans. Serve and enjoy Chifrijo over rice or pico de gallo.

All my life I have enjoyed rice, beans, chicharrones and pico de gallo. Little did I know that I was enjoying the flavors of Costa Rica! In my experience with cooking and people eager to learn how to cook, the two most sought-out recipes are rice and beans. There's nothing more comforting than enjoying a warm bowl of fresh-made beans with a heaping spoonful of rice ladled with bean broth. Chifrijo is a popular dish served in bars throughout Costa Rica and is typically served in a bowl. Chi refers to chicharrón (fried pork) and frijo refers to frijoles (beans).

For my version, I added some bean broth, rice (I prepared my mom’s recipe for Mexican red rice), red beans, chicharrones and pico de gallo. The dish is garnished with zesty salsa Lizano, sliced avocado and homemade tortilla chips. I mean what’s not to love? It’s a complete meal in a bowl!

Ingredients

  • For the Homemade Chicharron
  • 2 pounds pork belly
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce optional
  • For the Pico de Gallo
  • 6 Roma tomatoes deseeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup white onion finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 large jalapeño or 2 serrano peppers, diced
  • 1 red Fresno pepper diced (removing seeds is optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped, or to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Red Beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups red Beans or black beans, cooked with the broth
  • 1/3 cup white onion or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 stalk Celery finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile ancho powder optional
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • You Will Also Need:
  • 4 cups of your favorite cooked rice
  • Homemade corn tortilla chips or a good thick, store-bought chip
  • 1 to 2 avocados sliced
  • Extra hot sauce for garnish *Unfortunately they don’t sell salsa Lizano where I liveso I used one of my Mexican-style hot sauce.

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Directions

  1. Combine the sea salt and pepper. Season the pork belly on both sides, add the soy sauce and rub in to season all over. Place the pork belly on a plate and refrigerate overnight uncovered.
  2. Remove pork belly from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 500ºF. Place the pork skin side up on a wire rack, lined with a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 500 degrees, lower temperature to 325ºF and roast for another 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing.
  3. When ready to prepare chicharron, slice the pork belly into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a heavy pot and heat to medium/low. This takes a little while because you want the pork to release the fat slowly and cook in its own fat. Stir now and then and cook until pork becomes crispy in most spots. Remove from pan and drain onto paper towels.
  4. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the pico de gallo. Season to taste, cover and set aside.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and celery. Season lightly with salt and pepper and continue cooking for 5 to 7 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients for the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, taste for salt.
  6. Warm the chicharrones for a few seconds in the microwave. In a shallow bowl, ladle in some bean broth, rice, beans (without broth), chicharrones, pico de gallo and hot sauce. Garnish with tortilla chips and avocado slices.’

Chef Notes

Corn tortillas, oil for frying and a little salt is all you need to prepare and enjoy homemade chips at home. Take your tortillas out of the plastic the day before and let them dry out. This will ensure a quick fry and crispy chips. One pound dry red beans soaked overnight in the slow cooker covered with plenty of water, 1/2 an onion, bulb of garlic, bay leaf and jalapeño. Cook on low for 8 hours or until beans are tender. If beans don’t have a lot of broth, add a little chicken or vegetable broth, about 1 cupAdd salt once tender.  

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