Sofrito

If you grew up in a Latin household, then chances are you’re acquainted with it.

Even if don’t make it yourself, it’s still likely that your mother, grandmother and/or great-grandmother still prepare batches of their own to this day.

My grandmother always has it on hand and relies on it for many of the dishes we loved to eat while growing up. Her kick-ass Arroz con Jamón is the first dish that comes to mind in our family.

But, if you don’t know, Sofrito is a sauce-base that gets things started on the stove. There are many versions of it and we like to use it in beans, stews and meat to add a depth of flavor to our food.

For instance, I prefer dry beans (the kind that come in a bag and that you have to soak and stew for hours either way) but even if you opt for the canned kind, some homemade Sofrito will make them go a really long way.

Typical ingredients are onions, peppers, cilantro, garlic, olive oil and oregano. Some others you might not be as familiar with, such as: ají dulces, culantro/recao and achiote. I won’t even try translating something I’ve only known just as you see written above. That’s how they’re labeled in the grocery stores in our old Spanish speaking neighborhood.

But if you want to research this further, please be my guest.

In the meantime, depending on what I have on hand I can easily be missing a few ingredients for my Sofrito. But, if I have just the garlic, onion, cilantro and peppers I’m going for it just the same.

Some sort of Sofrito is still better than no Sofrito, in my opinion!

The process involves blending it all together to form a puree that (depending on your actual choice of ingredients) will result in a hue that is dark green or reddish-brown. I like the ice tray method for storage in the freezer.

Ultimately, the frozen cubes are transferred into a large ziplock bag. I will always have more than I can freeze at one time, so whatever is left in the refrigerator is what I’ll use first.

Also, every single thing will not fit in the blender all at once so I try to blend equal amounts of all the ingredients then pour into my biggest mixing bowl to evenly combine with a spoon, once liquefied. If it’s too thick for my taste, I’ll blend again.

I’m sure to freeze the refrigerated batch within a day or two, as this works best for me. I don’t want it to spoil before I get around to using it. (As I’ve been experimenting with all types of food lately, I may not get around to a good old plate of rice and beans that soon.)

Oh but when I finally do, I love the aroma in my kitchen when that spoon just dripping with Sofrito first hits the hot oil! It’s like coming home again.

And yes, Sofrito is available at most supermarkets but we all know that fresh is best. So, if you ever have the desire to make it yourself, you will see how this admittedly time-consuming task (my taste buds remind me again and again) is totally worth your while.

I pretty much wing it but if you need a recipe, Delish D’Lites has a simple one to get you on the right track.

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