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Sofrito Recipe: Puerto Rican Cooking Sauce
Let me start by saying that many of the delicious recipes in Puerto Rican cuisine include sofrito. I remember that when I was growing up, my Grandma used to make her own and that delicious aroma is nothing short of heavenly.
But, what exactly is Sofrito, you may ask?
Wikipedia defines sofrito as “a sauce used as a base in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Latin American cooking. Preparations may vary, but it typically consists of aromatic ingredients cut into small pieces and sauteed or braised in cooking oil.”
Wiki goes further, explaining the basics of what sofrito means and/or refers to in different countries and cultures. For example, Wiki says that “in Puerto Rican cuisine, sofrito is mostly used when cooking rice dishes, sauces, and soups.”
Wiki expands even further by stating that “Sofrito is closely related to recaíto. The two main ingredients that give Puerto Rican sofrito its characteristic flavor are recao (culantro) and ají dulce, but red and green cubanelle peppers, red bell peppers, pimientos, yellow onions, garlic, plum tomatoes, and cilantro are also added. All red peppers are roasted, seeded, and then added to the sofrito. Sofrito is traditionally cooked with olive oil or annatto oil, tocino (bacon), salted pork and cured ham. A mix of stuffed olives and capers called alcaparrado is usually added with spices such as bay leaf, sazón and adobo.”
How to make sofrito?
The description cited above is a fair, general description of what sofrito is. However, when I make it I do not use lard or roast the red pepper. Heck, I do not cook any of it. When I started making my own, many years ago (before Pinterest’s time, so I couldn’t pin it and now have no clue where it came from), I found the simplest recipe and voila! Sofrito done.
Maybe I totally missed part of the instructions. Or maybe there was no cooking in those instructions. I am definitely a ‘lazy’ cook and love the simpler stuff. I can tell you something though: when that sofrito touches the slightly warmed up cooking oil in the pan, you can’t help but sniff the air with deep satisfaction and longing.
If you’d like to give my recipe a try, I am more than happy to share it with you. Even if you never cook any Puerto Rican meals at home, I am sure you could incorporate sofrito to your meals!
- 16 garlic cloves
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 2 green peppers
- 1 red pepper
- 1 onion
- 4-5 sweet peppers
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 1 tbsp oregano
- extra virgin oil
- Cut or dice all ingredients. The choice is entirely yours. However, my blender is not super fancy (it’s more of a smoothie maker actually) so I make the job as easy as possible for it by dicing everything!
- Add everything to your blender or food processor. Leave the cilantro and coriander for last. The mixing process will go smoother this way.
- You may add some water to it, if you wish. However, I do not recommend you do. The oil makes it easy enough to mix in your blender or food processor and you will not want to make it too liquid-y.
- Pour into your container of choice. I save my plastic 30 oz mayonnaise jars and re-use for this. They are the perfect size and I am able to freeze them when I go on a sofrito spree and make multiple jars 😉
- You are all done!
Sofrito Recipe: Delicious Puerto Rican Cooking Sauce
I seriously recommend you make this, even if it’s just one jar to try it. I promise you’ll love it. Just think of all those delicious ingredients mixed together, and touching the warm oil in the cooking pan… yum!
If you’re at a loss on what to use it for, search Pinterest for ideas. There are plenty of recipes, and many of them are in English, if that is a concern 😉
Please, go to the comments and let me know if you made it and what you think of it!
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