Sofrito

(Puréed Condiments)

2 Comments

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.

Aida Harvesting the Produce for the Sofrito from Her Garden!

These are our sweet peppers (ajíes dulces).  This recipe calls for ½ pound of sweet peppers (approximately 40 sweet peppers).  

Fresh garlic from my garden.  This recipe calls for 2 whole garlic heads.

Harvesting beautiful large green peppers.  This recipe calls for 1 pound of green peppers (approximately 3 green peppers).

I grow yellow and white onions.  I make sofrito with white or yellow onions.  This recipe calls for ½ pound of onions (approximately 2 onions).

These are our culantro (recao).  This recipe calls for 40 culantro leaves.  

We are Ready to Prepare the Produce to Make Sofrito!

These sweet peppers (ajíes dulces) are bright green.  However, when they are left long on the plant, they turn yellow, orange and red.  The Taíno Indians cultivated the sweet peppers in Puerto Rico.  Therefore, our sweet peppers are an integral part of the Puerto Rican cookery.

You can substitute sweet peppers (ajíes dulces) with cubanelle peppers.  Click on this link for more information on Sweet Peppers.

Cut the sweet peppers (ajíes dulces) in halves and discard the seeds. 

Remove the cloves from the garlic. 

Peel the cloves of garlic. 

Cut green bell peppers into large chunks.  Discard seeds.

 

Peel the onions and cut each onion in quarters.

 

Trim the stems from the culantro (recao) with a kitchen scissor.    You can substitute culantro (recao) with 2 bunches of cilantro.

Culantro is a tropical perennial herb that is native to Mexico, Central and South America and Puerto Rico.  The leaf is green with long jagged edges (spiny).  The culantro has a strong aromatic scent. The Taíno Indians also cultivated the culantro in Puerto Rico.   Click on this link for more information on Culantro.

It Time to Purée the Herbs and Vegetables!

Rinse all the vegetables and herbs and place in a bowl or you can place in separate bowls if you so desire.

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

Purée the ingredients in the food processor.  Depending on the speed selected, it will take approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute to purée the ingredients.

The sofrito has a smooth consistency.  Repeat this process for the remaining ingredients. 

Pour into a bowl and mix all ingredients until well blended. 

How to Make Sofrito For a Single Meal!

If you are not interested in preparing a large batch of sofrito, mix all the chopped ingredients (1 garlic clove, 2 tablespoons green peppers, 1 tablespoon onion, 2 small or medium size culantro (recao) leaves and 1 tablespoon sweet peppers (ajíes dulces) into a bowl until well blendedAdd the sofrito to the dish that you are preparing and enjoy the tropical flavors!   You can substitute cilantro for culantro and cubanelle peppers for the sweet peppers (ajíes dulces).

How to Store the Sofrito for Future Use!

Pour sofrito (puréed condiments) in plastic containers and cover with lid.  Place in the freezer for future use.

Add sofrito (puréed condiments) in ice cube trays.  Cover with a lid and 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. 

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 or 2 onions
  • 1 pound green bell pepper or 3 green peppers
  • ½ pound ajíes dulces (sweet peppers) or 40 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, Featured, Recipes

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Aida, Please list ingredients for sofrito and pastel masa in quantity and not in pounds. Greatly appreciated and less stressful. I am forever trying to find the authentic Puerto Rican cuisine recipes and its hard to find them. All recepies are ;basically made according to someone’s tastes and style , its a shame that the authenticity of original cuisine is lost….

    Reply
    • Hi Carmen, Since the root vegetables and vegetables come in various sizes, this is why I list some of the ingredients in pounds so that the dough and sofrito can be consistent. However, I can only give you an estimate (not an exact quantity) for sofrito (1 large onion, 2 to 3 large green peppers and 40 ajíes dulces. For the pastel dough, 3 to 4 medium size yautías. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.

      Reply

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