Sofrito


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Sofrito is a flavoring sauce used widely in the Caribbean and in Latin American cuisine.  Normally, it is composed of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs.  One day my husband and I sat down with Wikipedia and looked up a bunch of our favorite ingredients to see where they originated.  Watching tv is just not enough for us sometimes.  I was surprised that tomatoes originated in Mexico.  Peppers are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.  This recipe is based on one by Daisy Martinez of Daisy Cooks!  Some of the ingredients are not easy to find, so I have provided good substitutes.  I frequently make this and freeze most of it (since I am usually only cooking for 2).  I have a super-cool ice cube tray with a silicone bottom that you can push out the frozen sofrito cube.  I store them in a baggie on the door of my freezer and just pop 2 or 3 into whatever recipe I am making.  It is also sold in jars and frozen, but making it yourself tastes so much better, even if frozen!
 

Sofrito

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Spanish onions, cut into large chunks
  • 3 to 4 Italian frying peppers or cubanelle peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 16 to 20 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, washed (1 large bunch)
  • 7 to 10 ajices dulces (mini sweet peppers that look like scotch bonnets, but are not hot), optional
  • 1/4 cup culantro or 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 to 4 plum tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into large chunks

Directions

Place the onions and Italian frying pepper (or Cubanelle) into the food processor and pulse to coarsely chop.  While the motor is running, drop in the remaining ingredients, one at a time, and continue processing until your mixture is relatively smooth.  That is it.

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The sofrito will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  You can freeze it for longer storage.  I find it convenient to freeze the sofrito in ice cube trays and store in a plastic freezer bag.  Then I just pop a few of the frozen cubes into stews, soups, or rice dishes.  There is not need to thaw out first.

NOTEAjices Dulces are also called cachuchua or ajicitos.  They do have a hint of heat as do the Italian frying peppers.  Bell peppers can be substituted for both.  Jamaican peppers are habaneros or scotch bonnets and they are very hot and probably not good for this, even if you like a lot of heat.  You can also add a pinch of cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes, if using bell peppers only.

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