Sofrito

(Puréed Condiments)

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The traditional term for “Sofrito” refers to sautéing our special blend of herbs and vegetables in a tomato-annatto oil based sauce.   It is the basic condiment that gives the Puerto Rican cuisine its unique flavor and aroma.  Today, however, the term “Sofrito” is referred to the puréed herbs and vegetablesSofrito is, therefore, added to our stewed rice, beans, meats, fish and soups for a more flavorful and tropical dinning experience.

A Little History!

Who introduced the sofrito concept to the Puerto Rican cookery?  The Taíno Indians initiated the sofrito cooking process by adding the culantro (recao), sweet peppers (ajíes dulces) and annatto to their dish.  As a result, the sweet peppers (ajíes dulces), culantro (recao) and annatto became the essential ingredients for preparing sofrito.  With the arrival of the Europeans to the island, they brought with them other food items like onions, garlic, cilantro, green peppers that were eventually incorporated to the “Sofrito” mixture to intensify the flavors and aromas to our cuisine.

How to Make Sofrito!

Peel the cloves of garlic.  Peel the onions and cut each onion in quarters.  Core and cut green bell peppers into large chunks.  Discard seeds. 

Trim the stems from the culantro.  Cut the sweet peppers (ajíes dulces) in halves and discard the seeds.   

Our Special Ingredients:

Culantro is a tropical perennial herb that is native to Mexico, Central and South America.  The leaf is long with jagged edges (spiny) and has a strong aromatic scent.  The other Spanish term frequently used for culantro in Puerto Rico is “recao.”   Learn How You Can Grow Culantro.

 

 

Ajíes Dulces  (Capsicum Chinense) are sweet peppers native to Latin America and the Caribbean.  These sweet peppers are bright green.  However, when they are left long on the plant, they turn yellow, orange and red.  They slightly resemble the habanero pepper in appearance but are sweet with a unique aroma and flavor.    Learn How You Can Grow Ajíes Dulces.

 

Alternatives for Special Ingredients:

Cilantro and culantro are cousins with similar flavors while shaped differently.  Because there were no Latin markets when our parents moved to the United States, they substituted the culantro with cilantro.

 

 

Cubanelle peppers (Capsicum Annuum) are known as Italian frying pepper and Cuban pepper.  They are yellowish green in color and turn to a bright red color when they become ripe.   Compared to the ajíes dulces, they are longer and sweeter.  The Cubanelle peppers are mainly  imported from the Dominican Republic.   You can substitute sweet peppers (ajíes dulces) with cubanelle peppers.

 

We are Ready to Purée the Herbs and Vegetables!

Rinse all the vegetables and herbs and place in a bowl.

Add the herbs and vegetables that the food processor will hold. 

Purée the ingredients in the food processor.  Repeat this process for the remaining ingredients.  Pour into a bowl and mix all ingredients until well blended. 

Pour puréed condiments in plastic containers or ice cube trays.  Cover plastic containers or ice cube trays with a lid.  Place in the freezer for future use.

PREPARATION TIP Once the sofrito is frozen in the ice cube trays, I place two cubes of frozen sofrito in a snack bag.   I then place 8 to 10 snack bags of sofrito in a gallon plastic bag and store the gallon plastic bag in the freezer.  When a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of “Sofrito” as one of the ingredients, I remove a snack bag from inside the gallon bag and add the two cubes of sofrito to the dish I am preparing.  Each cube of sofrito equals one tablespoon.  Here is an easy recipe on How to Make Sofrito for a Single Meal.

Click on the button below to watch my YouTube video on How to Make Sofrito!

Recipe and Nutritional Facts

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only.  Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.

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Sofrito


  • Author: Aida's Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Total Time: 45
  • Yield: 40 ounces 1x

Description

Sofrito is a special blend of herbs and vegetables that is used in the Caribbean cookery especially in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.   The herbs and vegetables are puréed in large quantities and stored in the freezer for future use.   The puréed condiments is a mixture that adds the unique flavor and aroma to our cuisine.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 whole garlic heads
  • ½ pound onion
  • 1 pound green bell pepper
  • ½ pound ajíes dulces (sweet peppers)
  • 40 leaves fresh culantro

Instructions

  1. Peel the cloves of garlic.  Peel the onions and cut each onion in quarters.  Core and cut green peppers into large chunks.  Discard seeds.
  2. Trim the stems from the culantro.  Cut sweet peppers (ajíes dulces) in halves and discard the seeds.
  3. Rinse all the vegetables and herbs.  Place all the ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Add the vegetables and herbs that the food processor will hold and purée the ingredients.  Repeat this process until all the vegetables and herbs are puréed.
  5. Pour into a bowl and mix all ingredients until well blended.
  6. Pour puréed condiments in plastic containers and/or ice cube trays.  Cover plastic containers and/or ice cube trays with lid and store in freezer for future use.

Notes

Once the sofrito is frozen in the ice cube trays, I place two cubes of frozen sofrito in a snack bag.   I then place 8 to 10 snack bags of sofrito in a gallon plastic bag and store the gallon plastic bag in the freezer.  When a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of “Sofrito” as one of the ingredients, I remove a snack bag from inside the gallon bag and add the two cubes of sofrito to the dish I am preparing.  Each cube of sofrito equals one tablespoon.

Substitute fresh cilantro (2 bunches) for culantro and substitute cabanelle peppers (½ pound) for sweet peppers (ajíes dulces).

  • Category: Condiments

Keywords: Sofrito

Nutritional Facts Disclaimer

Category: Condiments, Recipes

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