Hey doll hey!! How’s your day/night going? Great I hope. Today was market day and I noticed I was running low on a staple in our house called Sofrito (a sauce used as a base in most Latin American and Spanish cooking). Our style of Sofrito is different from the Italian version of soffritto (which is Onion, Celery, and Carrot and is the base to all the yummy Italian foods you know and love).
Latino Sofrito is more of a highly fragrant herb paste and is typically fried in some olive oil before being added to our savory dishes … Intrigued yet? Then let’s begin ….
This will 1 and 1/4 gallons of Sofrito… Not ready to commit to that much Sofrito yet? No worries at the end of this post I will give you an alternative for making just enough for 12 ounces (enough for 12 meals) …once you try this base you will be hooked and the smell is so amazing too.
*NOTE* My version of Sofrito is missing 1 ingredient than most Puerto Ricans use… I don’t use aji dulce (sweet perennial peppers)…. I don’t like them much and I almost always end up mistaking them for scotch bonnet peppers which causes my Sofrito to come out way too darn spicy… I prefer to add my heat little at a time … and I don’t like spicy for every dish so I just simple omitted that 1 ingredient from my Sofrito and I’ve been making it like this for over 20 years.
So… let’s jump into the how to ….
You will need:
A big container to store the Sofrito while you work and a laddel. I use a 5 Quart sauce pan and my all time favorite Wonder Woman popcorn bucket. *NOTE* You will also need about 10 small to medium sized plastic food-storage containers to store the Sofrito in.
A blender or a food processor … I prefer the blender because it makes quick work this process and it makes the paste a lot finer which I like.
5 Large red bell peppers and 10 medium green bell peppers (or you can use 6 Large green bell peppers) ….. Cut up the red and green peppers into 2 to 4 inch chunks
2 containers of garlic cloves … it has to be peeled and whole garlic cloves
4 bundles of Cilantro (Coriander leaves). Make sure to rinse this thoroughly to get all the sand out. Then chop the leaves down (similar size to the peppers and onions)
4 packs or bundles of Recao (some call this herb Culantro). Make sure to rinse this thoroughly to get all the sand out. Then chop the leaves down (similar size to the peppers and onions)
4 to 6 large Spanish onions. Cut the onions into similar sized chunks s the peppers.
5 cups of filtered or bottled water (do not use tap water)
Into the blender we go …
1. Add a few handfuls of red peppers, green peppers, onions, and garlic into the blender.
2. Add a small amount of the water (maybe about 1/2 a cup … I just eye ball it) into the blender and puree on high.
3. Add a bit more water (again about 1/2 a cup more or less) and a handful of the Cilantro and Recao and once again into the blender and puree on high.
4. Keep repeating these steps until the blender is full. Dump the mixture into whatever reseptical you chose to use.
5. keep repeating steps 1 through 4 until you have incorporated all your ingredients together. It should look something like the above picture.
Now all that’s left is to transfer the mixture evenly into your awaiting plastic food-storage containers. Now you can pop one of the containers into the fridge and the remaining containers into the freezer. *NOTE* Fresh Sofrito is good in the fridge for 4 months and 1 year in the freezer. Now, if you are into canning (i am not … I mess it up every time) this sofrito will last 2 years with canning it.
Now, what to do with all this yummy base???
In a pan heat up 2 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil (always use olive oil for this never use regular oil … it’s tradition after all … and I think the olive oil gives it a better taste … although I once used avocado oil (I just grabbed the wrong oil one day … and since I was stuck with it I used it) and that was pretty good too. Anyway I digress… heat up 2 to 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil and add 2 to 4 tablespoons of the Sofrito and fry it for a few minutes to get the flavors melding together.
You can use this base in anything… I use it in rice, stews, soups, and of course I marinate my meats with it (if you are going to marinate meat with it do not fry the Sofrito first, you want to make sure it’s raw when you marinate anything in it.)
So what you do is fry the Sofrito and than dump in whatever you are cooking and follow the directions on how to cook whatever it is … for instance If you want to make Spanish rice you fry up the Sofrito and then dump in your rice, beans, and whatever other seasonings you want mix it all together and add the water to this … that Sofrito base will marry into the recipe like a dream. (don’t know how to make Spanish rice? No worries … I’m here for you doll …. I’ll be doing a small series on Spanish meals … Just give me a few days … I learned to cook the old school way … in other words… I do not use measuring cups or spoons … everything is by eyeball .. most Puerto Ricans have a saying …. “Boricuas don’t measure ingredients, we simply sprinkle and add until the spirits of our ancestors come to us and whisper that’s enough my love”. So for me, I know what I need to put in and how much but I don’t know the measurements … but that’s not that bad … I can simple measure what I normally use and Bob’s Your Uncle … I’ll have a recipe that will be easy to follow.
OK … so still not ready to commit to the full monty? No worries here’s what you need to make 12 ounces……
1 large red bell pepper
3 large green bell peppers
2 big handfuls of garlic cloves
1 large Spanish onion
1 bundle of Recao (some call this herb Culantro)
1 bundle of Cilantro (Coriander leaves)
Enough water to mix everything together … You just add bottled or filtered water to the blend 1/2 cup at a time just enough to get the blender mixing everything well.
Chop up everything the same as above and add it to the blender adding water as needed to keep everything moving in the blender on puree.
and there you go … enough sofrito to last you 12 meals … Just store it in an air tight plastic container in the fridge for up to 4 months.
Keep in mind that if you make the gallon and 1/4 you will need to freeze the remaining containers until you need them …just take a container out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter-top over night and then just pop it into the fridge and enjoy.
Well that’s all for now dolls… I hope you have a great rest of your day/night and that you are in good spirits and great health. Remember dolls … Save a spoon for a bit of lipstick.