Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Rice and Beans)

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INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 strip bacon, finely chopped (optional)
2 to 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups cooked white rice
2 cups cooked black or small red beans with juice, or 1 can (16 oz.) with juice
1/2 tsp. salt
Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce

PREPARATION:

In large skillet heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion, bacon if desired, cilantro, and bay leaf and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, until onions have softened. Stir in cooked rice, beans with juice, and salt. Cover, then cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat 6 to 8 minutes, until all juice has been absorbed. Remove bay leaf prior to serving. Sprinkle with Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce to taste, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

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