Tico Casado

The national meal of Costa Rica.  The dish always includes soupy black beans to be poured over rice, some type of grilled meat or fish, and vegetables or a salad.  Fried plantains or bananas are also often served on the side.

Marinating the meat

  • 1 pound lean pork sirloin, cut into ½” thick cutlets
  • 1 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce

Marinate meat in the remaining ingredients in a zipper plastic bag for at least one hour and up to eight hours.

Black beans

  • 2 slices bacon chopped
  • ½ onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 2 15-oz cans black beans, undrained

Saute vegetables in bacon over medium heat until vegetables are soft but do not let bacon go crisp.  Add black beans and turn heat to low and allow flavors to blend.  Stir occasionally.  Add water if necessary to keep beans soupy but thick.


  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 4 cups water

Put rice and water in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to boil.  When most of the liquid has boiled away, turn the heat to very low and cover.  Steam for about 20 minutes.

Pineapple slaw

  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • ½ cup shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup shredded carrots (or instead of the preceding 3 ingredients, use one 12 oz package of preshredded coleslaw vegetable mix)
  • 1 cup diced pineapple (preferably fresh)
  • 1/4 cup fruit vinegar (I used pineapple vinegar)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • ½ cup extravirgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients

Grilling meat

Heat 2 tsp canola oil over high heat in a large skillet.  Drain pork cutlets.  When the oil is sizzling hot, add cutlets to the skillet.  Do not crowd the pan.  When they are brown on one side (about five minutes) flip them over and brown the other side another five minutes).  Serve pork just barely pink and still juicy (no we don’t have to worry about trichinosis any more, at least not in the States), or if you like you pork well done, turn the heat down to medium after flipping them over and cook 7 minutes instead.

Fried bananas

  • 2 large bananas, split lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp butter

Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat.  Add banana halves.  Brown one side and then flip them over and brown the other.

Put pork, rice, slaw and bananas on a plate and serve black beans on the side in a small custard cup to pour over the rice.  If you like, you can serve some mango salsa on top of the pork.  See my tilapia with mango salsa recipe of November 13, 2009.

Serves 4

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