Chifrijo (Costa Rican Taco Bowls)
Yield: 2 servings
In Costa Rica, these adaptable bowls are often enjoyed with tortilla chips and an Imperial beer and provide a delicious way to reinvent leftovers.


  • 1/4 pound sliced center cut or slab bacon, cubed or diced (may substitute pork belly or any leftover cooked meat, chopped into small cubes plus 2 tablespoons olive oil)
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 a red bell pepper (or color of choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups cooked white rice (leftover works well)
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans (may use rinsed and drained canned beans)
  • Salt and pepper
  • For serving: chopped avocado or guacamole, your favorite salsa, chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges for squeezing, hot sauce, and/or tortilla chips


  1. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve the drippings. (Alternatively, you may drain the grease and coat the skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If using the cooked meat option, add the olive oil to the pan.)

    Sauté the onion until softened and beginning to turn golden, about 4-5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and sauté to soften, 1-2 minutes more, and then add the cumin, cooking for 1 minute or until fragrant.

    Add the rice and beans to the skillet, tossing to incorporate the onion mixture and to warm through, sprinkling with salt and pepper to taste. (I use about 1/2 teaspoon, plus a pinch or two, of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.) Transfer the rice mixture to bowls for serving.

    Evenly distribute the reserved bacon over top, and then add toppings of choice to taste. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing and a side of tortilla chips, using the chips to scoop the Chifrijo, if desired, or crumbling a few over the top of the bowls for a hint of crunch.


  • Chifrijo is often enjoyed with a drizzle of Salsa Lizano, which is best described as a very mild yet flavorful hot sauce. (While visiting I learned that, generally speaking, Costa Ricans aren’t big fans of spicy food.) I like to sprinkle a few drops of hot sauce over the finished bowls, but it may certainly be omitted.
  • Cheese is not typical of these bowls, but feel free to add some if you enjoy it.
  • For ease, I use my favorite salsa in place of the traditional pico de gallo or salsa fresca. If inclined, feel free to make your own when good tomatoes are available.
  • Long grain white rice and kidney beans are traditional, but you may use brown rice and/or black beans if preferred.

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