Latin America-Inspired Sofrito Recipe
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Sofrito is a pantry staple in Latin-American cuisine. It’s used to marinate and stew meats, flavor rice, and season beans.
Sofrito is a sauce made of vegetables and aromatic herbs used to flavor dishes like rice, beans, and meats. It’s used in many cultures and made in a variety of ways. This recipe is inspired by the wonderful flavors of Latin-America. It’s an easy flexible sauce being easily adjusted for taste and available ingredients.
Resources for authentic Latin cuisine
Before I share my version of Latin-America inspired sofrito, I’d like to insert this disclaimer for the lack of authenticity of this recipe. I make no claim to be an authority of the Latin or Hispanic cuisine. To that effect, I would love to offer resources for authentic Hispanic recipes. The first is Coconut and Collards by Von Diaz called. Von fuses her Hispanic heritage with southern-style cooking roots. The second is a food blogger by the name of Marta Rivera at Sense and Edibility. Marta is a trained chef and excellent recipe developer of Puerto Rican cuisine.
Traditional Latin sofrito ingredients
The ingredients for sofrito vary by country and by cook. The ingredients for Puerto Rican sofrito will differ from that of Dominican cuisine. However, the base ingredients which include tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeño, onion, culantro leaves, cilantro, garlic, aji dulce chiles, and even cumin seeds remain consistent across cuisines.
Latin-inspired sofrito ingredients
Ingredients like culantro leaves and aji dulce chiles are not indigenous to the US and are difficult to find in many areas so I’ve researched equitable substitutes. Culantro has an intense flavor of cilantro and parsley combined. I’m using only cilantro but to replicate the taste of culantro, use equal part cilantro and parsley if desired. Aij dulce are sweet peppers that resemble habanero peppers. I use green bell pepper as a replacement however, red or orange bell peppers are acceptable
How to make, use, and store homemade sofrito
Remove the roots and most of the green stems from the scallions, then trim and remove seeds from jalapeno if using.
Add all of the ingredients to a blender until smooth. Then gently heat the purée over medium flame in a saucepan before cooking and storing.
I use this sofrito in my Puerto Rican Chicken and Sofrito Yellow Rice recipe but it is amazing in Beef Empanadas and Stewed Chicken.
This recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups of sauce. To store leftover sofrito, pour 1-2 cups into a single quart-size freezer-safe bag. Seal the bag removing extra air. Lay it flat on a baking sheet in the freezer until solid. To defrost, run the frozen bag under warm water; use as normal.
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*Updated on 9/19/2020 for improved content and again on 10/6/2020 for clarity. It was first published on 7/9/2018.*
Latin America-Inspired Sofrito Recipe
- 1 lb plum tomatoes quartered
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 green pepper seeded
- 5 scallions trimmed
- 10 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeno seeded optional
- 1/3 c canola oil
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp turmeric optional
- Remove the roots and most of the green stems from the scallions, then trim and remove seeds from jalapeno if using.
- Put all of the ingredients into a blender and make a puree. Pour puree into a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. You should see a few bubbles but not much more. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool before storing or using it right away according to the recipe.
I agree with a previous comment, this is not true PR sofrito as it should be a rich green color. Also, another hack for freezing it that I do, use ice cube trays to freeze it then after they are frozen store in a gallon size zip lock in the freezer. Each cube is the perfect serving size, about 1 tablespoon! Makes life so much easier!! Just take out a cube or two as needed.
Excellent freezing tip. Thank you.
This is NOT Puerto Rican sofrito. We do not use jalapenos (ever!) or scallions or tomatoes or canola oil. Sofrito should be a beautiful green color when finished. Not Yellow. This recipe is more Mexican than Puerto Rican with the adjustments you’ve made to it. I’m Puerto Rican and grew up making sofrito. I still make big batches with my mom all the time. Bell peppers instead of aji and cilantro when you don’t have recao. The rest of the recipe stays the same. And if you want it to last than don’t add oil because oil goes rancid. And if you do add oil use olive not canola. There shouldn’t be any seasonings in it either as this is the base for many recipes that use different ingredients and seasonings.