Puerto Rican Sofrito Little Kitchen Big Eats Style
(Also known as green Sofrito here on Little Kitchen Big Eats)
If you’ve visited me before, you may have noticed that I mentioned something called ‘green sofrito’ in a couple of my recipes: Tex-Mex Chicken Pot Pie, Red Beans & Rice, and now here it is again.
So I want to (finally!) share one of my mom’s secret to some of her Big Eats with you.
If this is your first time visiting me here or if you’ve never heard of ‘Sofrito’ before, PLEASE allow me be the first to introduce you.
So, what is sofrito? And how do you use it?
Sofrito is a combination of raw vegetables that (in modern day) gets pulverized in a blender or food processor.
This becomes a raw paste like slurry and something that you want to add in your cooking process. You wouldn’t want to eat sofrito in this raw state.
A tiny taste would be okay, but I would not recommend consuming a spoon full of sofrito. It is very intense in flavor!
Treat sofrito like an ingredient or seasonings that is added to whatever you are cooking and preferably in fat or oil.
And it can be added to any liquid, broth, stock, water for your soups and some sauces, too!
Growing up, sofrito was always in the fridge because of my Puerto Rican mother. I never fully appreciated it, until I moved out of my parent’s home.
It was when I tried to recreate my mom’s home-cooked meals that I understood what sofrito contributes and how essential it is to round out signature Puerto Rican Eats.
And now that I’ve been cooking ALL types of Eats for years, I’ve discovered how well sofrito translates into other styles of foods from other cultures.
I decided to do a little research for this post JUST out of curiosity.
Type the word Sofrito in a web search and WHOA! There are lots of different recipes of sofrito in other cultures.
But type Puerto Rican Sofrito and those results come up with even more versions.
Did you know that other cultures use a kind of sofrito? Not all make a pulverized sofrito but many cultures have a staple like this.
I’ve even seen other islands in the Carribean have their versions of sofrito, too.
Why do you want to use sofrito? Tell me more…
When you add sofrito to certain dishes, it will enhance and round out your Big Eats.
The flavor that sofrito adds to a dish shows itself off but in a subtle way. However it is not easily identified in Big Eats.
I’ve seen people struggle before to put their finger on what ingredients I’ve used in Big Eats I’ve created.
On the flip side, when sofrito has been left out of a certain signature dish, it is completely noticeable and the meal seems to be lacking something.
I always want to have this on hand when I cook! I will add it to many Big Eats, but I don’t add it to everything.
The meal needs to lend itself to pairing with cilantro. Otherwise, there is a conflict of flavors.
Do you already know about sofrito? Have you made some before?
The Original Recipe
The original Puerto Rican recipe is combination of ingredients that are seasonal or easily found in Puerto Rico. They are difficult to get your hands on year round.
My mom spotted these in the produce section of a grocery store around the late spring and summer in my area. If you cannot find it, just leave it out and make it like I do.
These unique ingredients are a combination of:
Ajices Dulces, also known as ajicitos, which look similar to habaneros peppers. But please do not get them confused!!!
Culantro not a typo for cilantro, has long tapered leaves with serrated looking edges.
These get pulverized with onions, lots of garlic, some cilantro.
Most of the year, I rely on the modified version I learned from my mom. And that is the recipe I am going to share with you.
I use a LOT of cilantro, onion, green peppers, a lot of garlic.
***UPDATED 11-11-16 After speaking with my sister & a cousin, I totally forgot that my mom liked to add some Spanish Olives to her recipe. While she didn’t do it with every batch of sofrito she made, she would add it if it was on hand. So I’m updating my recipe here and at home to reflect the addition of Spanish olives & some of the liquid.***
Some will say “This doesn’t seem like the original recipe!”
There are SO many different versions of sofrito out there. But you won’t see me call anyone’s sofrito recipe the Only Way to make it or Wrong way here!
No matter how you slice it, we all want to accomplish the same thing. Making magic with a dish by means of sofrito!
If after reading this, you want to make some sofrito of your own, then I’ve done my job!
My goal is to make new fans of a Puerto Rican inspired sofrito, Little Kitchen Big Eats style.
If you do make your own, I would love to know about it.
What meals do you think you will add sofrito to?
I have a long list of recipes I’ve added sofrito to.
Oh I wanted to mention that ‘they say’ sofrito keeps in the fridge for about a week. When I make mine, I leave about 1/2 cups worth in my fridge and freeze the rest in about 1/3 cup portions.
You can portion them out in ice cube trays too!
I hope you will give my sofrito recipe a try and use it in your Big Eats! Let me know if you do-leave a comment or tag me on Instagram.