Sofrito — a blend of garlic, onions, peppers and recao (culantro) — is the backbone of Puerto Rican flavor. Also referred to as recaito, it’s typically sautéed in oil as the foundation for sauces, braises, beans, stews and rice dishes. It’s also adaptable, and can yield a lighter, more verdant flavor if sautéed for 2 to 3 minutes, and a richer flavor if sautéed for 7 to 10 minutes and combined with tomato sauce. This recipe yields about 3 cups, which is probably more than you’ll use for any recipe, but it keeps well. My grandmother often kept sofrito in the freezer stored in a repurposed plastic margarine container, or frozen into cubes and saved in plastic zip-top bags. If kept in the refrigerator, it’s best if used within a week, but can be frozen for up to six months. You can also put it into a pan with hot oil straight from the freezer, though it may sputter a smidge.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 1medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into quarters
- 3ají dulce or amarillo peppers (or mini bell peppers), seeded and coarsely chopped (see Notes)
- 6large garlic cloves
- 1large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 6fresh culantro leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped (see Notes)
- 6fresh cilantro stems, coarsely chopped
Step 1In a large food processor or blender, blend the peppers and garlic until smooth.
Step 2Add the onion and blend until smooth, then add the culantro and cilantro, and blend until smooth. The sofrito will keep covered in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.