One of the things I love about Costa Rica is the rich tapestry of its culinary heritage. A great example of this is its delicious Arroz Campesino rice dish.
Although not as famous as the country’s other dishes, it is my go-to option when I want something that highlights the full flavors of Costa Rica’s traditional spices.
“Arroz Campesino” translates to farmer’s rice in English. The name is perfect for this rice dish that is packed full of all the nutrients needed for a hard day’s work on the farm.
If you are curious to find out how this exquisite rice dish is cooked and served, you are in the right place.
This recipe will give you a step-by-step guide and help you bring the taste of Costa Rica into your home.
Why You Will Love This Costa Rican Rice Dish
Besides the fact that this is an authentic Costa Rican rice dish, I love the fact that Arroz Campesino allows me a lot of freedom when it comes to ingredient choices.
I can have a lot of fun working with my own seasoning, trying out different meats besides pork, and adding a few surprise ingredients, such as plantains.
On top of that, Arroz Campesino is very easy to make. If you are not yet quite experienced in traditional Costa Rican cuisine, Arroz Campesino is a good first dish to try out.
This unique experience will open up the door to a lot more Costa Rican broth and rice dishes that your family will enjoy.
Before we get to the business end of this recipe, we must talk about the three major sets of ingredients that will make or break your Arroz Campesino recipe. Consider the following:
When making Arroz Campesino, you need to get your rice selection spot on. This is, after all, a traditional rice dish, and there is a surprisingly wide range of options to choose from.
Most traditional recipes I have come across use long-grain yellow rice for this dish.
However, I love the sweet, floral aroma and slightly sticky texture of Jasmine rice, and have found that it also goes very well with this Arroz Campesino recipe.
The most important thing here is to make sure that you choose high-quality rice for your dish. Make sure that it is well-rinsed to ensure that you end up with perfectly cooked rice.
I am a big fan of adding pork to my Arroz Campesino rice dish, but other meat options will also produce an excellent meal, such as:
- Fish and other seafood
When I use pork, I love tailoring the choice of meat to give the Arroz Campesino dish a different twist each time I make it. This means choosing between pork shoulder, regular or smoked ham, bacon, or pork ribs.
Vegetables and Traditional Spices
The use of traditional spices is what gives Arroz Campesino its rich flavor, but you are also free to play around with different variations of your own seasoning mix.
Also, feel free to play around with your choice of vegetables for the main dish or salad. This recipe will cook well with corn, plantains, garlic, beans, onions, and much more.
Step-by-step Costa Rica Arroz Campesino Recipe
The following is a brief look at the easy step-by-step process of making Arroz Campesino in true Costa Rican style:
- To serve four to six people, you will need:
- 2 pounds pork shoulder
- 3 cups of Jasmine, Basmati, or long-grain yellow rice
- 1 whole cabbage
- 1 large diced carrot
- A sprig of culantro
- 1 chopped bell pepper
- 1 chopped white onion
- Salsa Lizano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Tomato sauce or ketchup (optional)
- Chop, dice, or grate your carrots, onion, bell pepper, culantro, and cabbage.
- Thoroughly cook your pork shoulder in a pot with water, culantro, and salt. Make sure the meat is well-cooked before you take it off the stove.
- Let the cooked pork cool down before shredding it. Set the broth aside for later.
- Add your chosen mix of vegetables into a frying pan or skillet and sauté until soft. Add salt and paprika to taste.
- Into a medium-sized rice cooker, add your rice, broth, shredded pork, sautéed vegetables, sugar, tomato sauce, and Salsa Lizano.
- Allow to cook until the rice is soft and tender.
- You can leave the dish in the rice cooker until your guests arrive or serve immediately and enjoy!
You can serve your Arroz Campesino the traditional way with a side of beans or salad. Alternatively, I enjoy mixing it up once in a while by serving this meal with potato chips or fries, which is also a popular local way of serving Arroz Campesino.
You can also add a side of crispy fried plantains or a slaw of Arroz Campesino salad, which is simply bell peppers, onions, and cabbage.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
To keep your Arroz Campesino recipe fresh and exciting, consider the following variations and substitutions:
- Add brown rice for a healthier Arroz Campesino alternative. However, be sure to allow the brown rice to simmer for longer before it is served.
- You can ditch the pork or other meat options for a delicious vegetarian option. Simply add some extra green vegetables or tofu instead of the pork shoulder, with a dash of citrus and your own seasoning of traditional spices to bring out the flavor.
- Try adding chili powder or sautéed garlic and peppers to bring up the heat level of your traditionally mild Arroz Campesino and pork shoulder rice dish.
If you found this Costa Rica Arroz Campesino dish to be delicious, I have a lot more exciting dishes right here. Give this easy recipe a try next time you have guests over for dinner, and feel free to leave a comment on my browser about how it goes.