Island Bites: Authentic Puerto Rican Sofrito Recipe
What is sofrito?
The name sofrito come from the spanish verb "sofreir", which means to lightly fry or saute.
Sofrito is a blend of aromatics, herbs and spices used as a base in Spanish and Latin american cuisine. The ingredients and preparation may vary according to the country, but the blend is always sauteed in oil or lard.
In Puerto Rican cuisine, sofrito is the base for most stews, soups and rice dishes. Authentic Puerto Rican sofrito is a blend of onions, cubanelle peppers, ajicitos, garlic and recao.
Ajicito or ají dulce is a sweet pepper, a variety of capsicum chinense. It is a small green pepper that turns yellow and then red when it ripens. It is similar in shape and size to a habanero pepper, but without the heat. The ají dulce is widely used in South American and Caribbean cuisines.
Culantro or recao is a tropical herb, similar in taste to cilantro, only stronger. Also known as long coriander, cilantro ancho and chado beni, it is used in seasoning and marinades. It is a very popular herb in the Caribbean, but it is also used in Southeast Asian cuisines.
Cubanelle pepper is a sweet pepper, a variety of capsicum annuum. It has thin light green flesh, which turns red when it ripens. It is mostly used in the Caribbean, specially in Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Authentic Puerto Rican Sofrito
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- 1 large spanish or yellow onion, peeled
- 3 cubanelle pepper, seeded
- 15 to 20 garlic cloves, peeled
- 10 to 15 culantro leaves
- 10 to 15 ajicitos, seeded
- 1/4 cup oil
- You could freeze sofrito in ice cube trays. Then, transfer the sofrito cubes to a ziplock freezer bag. It will last up to 6 months.
- Do not add water to sofrito.
- Coarsely chop onion and peppers. Add vegetables into a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped.
- Mix in the oil. Transfer to an airtight container. Store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.
Some Puerto Rican Recipes
- Island Bites: Alcapurrias (Puerto Rican Green Banana & Root Vegetable Fritters)
Alcapurria is the favorite "street food" in Puerto Rico. It is a fried green banana and root vegetables dough filled with seasoned ground beef. You can also find seafood alcapurrias.
- Island Bites: Arroz con pollo & Habichuelas (Puerto Rican rice with chicken & Red Beans)
Arroz con pollo is a traditional Latin dish. Each country has its own version. In Puerto Rico, it is one of our favorite rices and is usually served alongside our very popular red beans.
- Island Bites: Puerto Rican Chicken Empanadas (Empanadillas de pollo)
Empanada is a tasty popular dish in Latin and Caribbean countries. It is a stuffed flaky pastry, baked or fried.
- Island Bites: Arroz con gandules (Puerto Rican pigeon peas rice)
Pigeon peas rice is a staple in Puerto Rico. During the Holidays, it is the official dish, alongside lechón asado (roasted pork).