For the pico de gallo: Combine the cilantro, jalapeno, if using, onion and tomato in a large mixing bowl. Add the lime juice (there should be enough juice to fill the bowl almost all the way up the mixture). Season with the salt. Mix well, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the chicharron: Heat 1 cup of the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Allow the oil to become very hot. Once the oil is hot, add the pork (you should be able to hear the sizzling fry song). Cook the pork, stirring as often as possible, 20 minutes. Add the garlic and salt and continue to stir until the pork has a lovely golden brown color, 20 to 40 minutes longer.
Remove the pork from the heat and allow to fully cool, 1 to 2 hours. Dice the pork into small pieces. Add the remaining 3 cups oil to a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is completely hot, flash-fry the diced pieces of chicharron until they have a deep, rich brown color and a crunchy texture. Set aside until ready to build the chifrijo. (The pork can be cooked a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to fry and use.)
For the black beans: Combine 5 cups water, black beans and the 2 whole garlic cloves in a medium pot. Bring the contents to a boil. Combine the oil, minced garlic and yellow onion in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Cook until the onions are a golden color, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the sauteed onions and garlic, Salsa Lizano, cumin, pepper and salt. Return the pot to the heat and reduce from a boil to a simmer. Give one more stir, cover with a lid and allow the beans to cook until tender, 35 to 45 minutes.
For the rice: Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onions, and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the rice, 1 1/2 cups water and salt. Bring the rice up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the rice is fully cooked and fluffy, 25 to 35 minutes.
Now that all components have been prepared it's now time to build the chifrijo. In each small soup bowl, add a spoonful of the black bean liquid, 3 heaping tablespoons of the rice, 4 tablespoons of the black beans and 4 tablespoons of the chicharron. Top the chicharron with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pico de gallo and a quarter of the avocado, if using. Generously drizzle with some extra Salsa Lizano and serve with tortilla chips on the side, if using. Chifrijo is best served with tortilla chips and an ice cold beverage. Pura Vida!!
Salsa Lizano is a Costa Rican condiment and can be found in Latin American specialty markets or online.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Irazu