What is sofrito? Sofrito is many things to many people and made in many different ways. It is the core and soul of Caribbean Latino cooking and everyone has there own recipe. It is the base of every thing Puerto Rican and it is one of my favorite things in the world. You use it to make rice and beans, you use it on fish, chicken, pork any kind of meat you name it you can use it.Use as a soup base it is multi purpose and delicious. When I make sofrito I am transported back to my grandmother’s kitchen the smell to me is intoxicating. I remember being a little girl and going with my grandmother to the Essex Street Market ,on the Lower East Side in NYC , to get the necessary ingredients to make the sofrito. We got bunches and bunches of cilantro, bunches and bunches of culantro (recao), ajicito, also known as aji dulce, onions and lots of garlic. Now when my grandmother made sofrito it was an event because she made A LOT and shared with our neighbors and friends and made enough for us to have for months (it freezes beautifully). So today I am sharing with you, and my fab 5, a modified version of what I grew up with only because it can be hard to find culantro and aji dulce in some places but you may find it in an international market. A word of caution be careful with the aji dulce because they look like scotch bonnet peppers, which are super HOT, but they are NOT the same make sure you get the right ones . This is what the ajicitos and recao look like:
Living in a suburb of Tampa I am sure I can find all the ingredients my grandmother used but because I am just settling in I have not had the opportunity to explore and find them. But alas I needed some Sofrito and I went to Walmart and got the basics, Cilantro, green bell pepper, onion and garlic. Now, you can get sofrito and recaito in jars and frozen containers in markets, and they are ok in a pinch, but really the best is the homemade fresh stuff and there is no wrong way to do it. Some people add tomato to it and you can use any kind of sweet pepper you like it’s all up to you. Here’s my recipe:
2 bunches of cilantro
1 large yellow onion
5 cloves of garlic
Rough chop the cilantro:
cut open peppers remove ribs and seeds:
cut peppers into chunks:
cut onions into eighths:
peel five cloves of garlic:
I smashed the garlic a little with my big chopping knife so that the garlic slid right out of its skin
Put cilantro into your food processor and chop it until pulpy add onions pepper and garlic and run through processor until the entire thing is mixed and pulpy:
This batch yielded about 31/2 cups I used an ice cube tray to freeze most of it. This makes perfect servings use 1-2 cubes at a time so you won’t have to defrost a whole container. It lasts a good 6 months in the freezer if you seal up the cubes into a Freezer bag once they have set. Once defrosted it last in the refrigerator for 7 days.
I used it today to marinade skinless, boneless chicken thighs in about 2tbsp of oil, 2tbsp of sofrito, salt and pepper put in the fridge for anywhere between 30 minute to as long as over night. I just cooked them up in a nonstick frying pan and enjoyed.
They came out AMAZING!
Use the sofrito in and on everything you can think of. I will be making rice and pigeon peas (arroz con gandules) using the sofrito so stay tuned for that recipe. I hope you all try this. Experiment and enjoy! And let me know how you used it I’d love to know.
Now I’m outtie I’m going to eat.