Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sofrito for Attila

I've mentioned the use of sofrito more than once in my blog. It's a seasoning blend used in most traditional Puerto Rican cooking; and many variations of it are seen in Latin American cuisine in general. A fellow blogger, Attila the Mom over at Cheaper than Therapy, asked me to post a recipe for it so that she could give it a try.

There are as many ways to make sofrito as there are cooks that prepare it. This recipe is one that my mother-in-law gave to me; the ingredients make a smaller batch, and it can be easily doubled or tripled to suit the cook's needs. Some of the ingredients may be hard to find in the produce section of your local market; things like cilantro, culantro, and aji dulce may be found at your local Latin American or Asian grocer.

Unlike some sofrito recipes, this one is not cooked in advance. When I use it, I heat oil in the pan I'm cooking in, add a few teaspoons of sofrito and cook for a few minutes, then add whatever other ingredients my recipe calls for. When used in meats, I use it raw--I simply season the uncooked meat with it, adding other seasonings like salt and pepper as needed.

Ingredients:

1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 head garlic, peeled
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only
1 bunch recao (culantro)
1 small bag aji dulce, about 4 oz.
1 tsp oregano, dried
pinch of black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

In blender, place peppers, onions, aji dulces, and garlic; add oil and pulse. Add cilantro, culantro, oregano, and pepper and continue to pulse until pureed. Please note that depending on the size of the blender it may be necessary to do this in batches. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container up to two weeks. This freezes extremely well in airtight containers. You may want to store this in multiple smaller containers and keep one in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.

4 comments:

Attila The Mom said...

You are the best best BEST!!

Got a question about these ingredients though (I'm a silly pale woman who lives in a totally non-diverse Wonderbread community):

1 bunch recao (culantro)
1 small bag aji dulce, about 4 oz

What the heck is this stuff and where can I find it?

Thanks so much for posting the recipe!!!

Flamenco Mom said...

Hi Attila,

Most of the time you can find these items in a Latin American or Asian market (though I do occasionally find recao at my local Publix). Recao is a flat-leaf herb. It's sold in bunches that are either bagged or loose. The aji dulces are small, round sweet peppers (though some varieties are spicy). They look a bit like habanero peppers.

When in a pinch, I have made sofrito without recao and aji dulce--the flavor is just a bit different. And what my mother-in-law does is add just a bit more red bell pepper in place of the aji.

Best of luck with this--I hope you love it!

Ingrid said...

I followed Attila's link and wound up here. Hi! I am a Puerto Rican living in the Houston, TX area.

That's a great sofrito recipe. It's not as common as cilantro, but sometimes find culantro here. It's harder to find ajíes dulces, so most of the time I make sofrito using only onion, bell peppers, cilantro and lots of garlic. I freeze in an ice cube tray, then transfer the cubes to Ziploc bags.

Flamenco Mom said...

Hi Ingrid, or should I say, Hola Boriqua! Thanks for visiting the blog. I've heard that some people like freezing sofrito in ice cube trays--I may have to give that a try sometime.