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Sofrito

Updated February 23, 2016
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This is the one indispensable, universal, un-live-withoutable recipe. Having said that, it is incredibly easy to make and uses ingredients you can find at the supermarket. If you can’t find all the ingredients listed below, see Daisy’s Pantry for a simple fix. What sofrito does is add freshness, herbal notes, and zing to dishes. You can do that with the onion, garlic, bell pepper, cilantro, and tomato alone.

In my house sofrito makes its way into everything from yellow rice to black bean soup, sauce for spaghetti and meatballs to braised chicken and sautéed shrimp. Not only that, it freezes beautifully, so in about In ten minutes you can make enough sofrito to flavor a dozen dishes. I’m telling you, this stuff does everything but make the beds. Try out your first batch of sofrito in the recipes you’ll find throughout this book or add it to some of your own favorite dishes that could use a little boost. You will change the way you cook. I guarantee it.

You can freeze sofrito in ½-cup batches in sealable plastic bags. They come in extremely handy in a pinch. You can even add sofrito straight from the freezer to the pan in any recipe that calls for it in this book.As the old disco song said, “Once you get started…” Do you make meatloaf? Throw in half a cup of sofrito. Sofrito in minestrone? Why not? And promise me you’ll never make a pot of chili can carne unless you brown some sofrito along with the meat.

Ajices dulces, also known as cachucha or ajicitos, are tiny sweet peppers with a hint of heat. They range in color from light to medium green and yellow to red and orange. They add freshness and an herby note to the sofrito and anything you cook. Do not mistake them for Scotch bonnet or habanero chilies (which they look like); those two pack a wallop when it comes to heat. If you can find ajicitos in your market, add them to the sofrito. If not, increase the cilantro to 1½ bunches and add a pinch of cayenne pepper:

Culantro is not cilantro. It has long leaves with tapered tips and serrated edges. When it comes to flavor, culantro is like cilantro times ten. It is a nice but not essential addition to sofrito.

Cubanelles are thin-fleshed sweet peppers. They are longer and narrower than bell peppers and similar in shape to Italian frying peppers. Cubanelles have a sweet, herby flavor and are found in shades of light green and yellow, with touches of light red.

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 15 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

Equipmentfood processor

Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, hot & spicy, juicy

Type of DishCondiments

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Spanish onions, cut into large chunks
  • 3 to 4 Italian frying peppers or cubanelle peppers
  • 16 to 20 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, washed
  • 7 to 10 ajices dulces (see Note)
  • 4 leaves of culantro (see Note), or another handful of cilantro
  • 3 to 4 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into large chunks

Instructions

Chop the onion and peppers in the work bowl of a food processor until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients one at a time and process until smooth. The sofrito will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and can be frozen (see Notes).

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