What is Sofrito? First, you must understand that Puerto Rican food came from it mix of its Spaniard conquistadors, African slaves, and native Taíno roots. And while it’s quite similar to other Hispanic cuisines, Puerto Rican food still has unique flavors, aromas and blends.
Sofrito is a blend of vegetables and Latin herbs used to season. What is sofrito used for? It’s used in a lot of things. Beans, stews, rices, etc. No Puerto Rican dish is complete without the infamous sofrito. A concoction of fresh roasted garlic, onions, sweet aji, onions, recao, cilantro, red bell pepper and spices. Sofrito is used as the base of any and just about every Puerto Rican dish.
Now, Fun Facts…
There is a BIG misconception about sofrito. Traditionally, there is NO TOMATOES IN SOFRITO. I don’t care where you saw it, what PR based site you got the recipe from or who’s mothers used it, there is NO TOMATOES USED IN SOFRITO, PERIOD! Same goes for green bell peppers. Don’t use it, ever! Wonder why your sofrito doesn’t smell like your grandmothers? It’s because you used tomato’s and green bell peppers and you probably didn’t roast the vegetables either.
One Large Red Bell Pepper. Don’t you dare use a jar of roasted peppers! Not in my recipe, do not insult our ancestors! Follow instructions!
One Large Yellow Onion
14 Aji dulce
1 head of garlic (roasted) You can do this by drenching the garlic head in olive oil, wrap it in aluminum foil and throw in the oven for 30 min at 350. Skin will just peel right off
1/4 cup PITTED Alcaparrado
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
20 Recao Leaves – Some people call this culantro. Can typically be found in Latin or Asian markets.
1 Bunch Cilantro
1 tbsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp Oregano
1 tsp Ground Toasted Coriander Seeds
1/4 tsp Citric Acid – my grandma used the juice of one lemon
1. Step 1 is THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. It’s been lost through the newer generations of misinformed people. Ever wonder why Mexican Salsa tastes so good? It’s because they roast the vegetables. ROAST THE VEGETABLES PEOPLE! Peel the onion and cut into 4 parts, cut top off red bell pepper and discard seeds, cut tops off aji peppers.
2. Chop vegetables and put all the ingredients in a food processor.
3. Process for about 1 min or until all the vegetables are at a consistency like picture below.
4. Storing your Sofrito… Some people like storing their sofrito in ice cube trays, my grandmother too. Just please, for the sake of sanitary and possible food contamination with God knows what. Use an ice cube try with a lid or top. I found this one at Bed Bath Beyond and I think it cost just a couple of bucks. You don’t want your sofrito developing freezer burns, that’s just yukkkkkkkie!
5. This is what I do. After the sofrito is frozen I take it out of the tray’s and store it in a freezer safe zip lock bag. After all, it’s about keeping everything fresh right.