Sofrito: The Flavor of Latin-American Cuisine
By Chef Daniela Rivera
Sofrito – It’s the condiment or “sazón” that gives Latin American cuisine its distinct flavor. Each country has a variation of sofrito and Puerto Rico is no exception. What makes sofrito in Puerto Rico different from those in the rest of Latin America would be the use of local ají dulces (sweet peppers) and recao (culantro or wild coriander). These two ingredients have been growing on the island even before the Spaniards first discovered it. Eventually, a set recipe for Puerto Rican sofrito was established, and to this day, it is the base of our island’s cuisine.
As a way of motivating our readers to continue learning about Puerto Rico and its culture, we decided to share a basic recipe for Puerto Rican sofrito that you could make at the comfort of your home. We hope you enjoy!
Puerto Rican Sofrito
Yields: approx. 4 cups
2 cups Yellow Onions, diced
1 cup Ají Peppers, deseeded
¼ cup Garlic Cloves
½ cup Recao, chopped (or Cilantro)
½ cup Oil
Other Ingredients (Optional):
- Annatto Seeds (“Achiote”)
Note: these bright red seeds are often infused in the oil for additional aroma and flavor. The oil will become orange or red in color depending on how long you leave the seeds infused.
- Tomato Paste – about two tablespoons would be enough for this recipe
1. Using a food processor, puree all the ingredients together until you form a slightly chunky salsa.
*Finely dice/mince each ingredient before combining them if you do not have a food processor at home.
2. Store in a closed container and store in the refrigerator.
*You could also freeze it using an ice tray (it last longer and it’s already portioned!)
- For both the onions and peppers you could use your personal favorite. I personally recommend yellow or white onions; for peppers, any type of bell pepper and/or cubanelle pepper.
- Use this as the starting base of your cooking— for soups, casseroles, stews, sauces/marinades, etc.
That’s it! You are ready to get cooking using your homemade Puerto Rican sofrito. If you prepare it, please let us know what you think and what you plan on using it for. Also, if you have any requests for any other recipes that you would like us to share feel free to do so 🙂