The Chef Within
Sofrito – the magic of Carribean cooking
What inspired this post was that after roasting some bell peppers last week I found myself with quite a few leftover ends. I cannot waste food and so I thought I’d convert them into sofrito. Sofrito is a mixture of peppers, onions, garlic, sometimes cilantro and assorted ingredients. There are many variations; some fresh, some cooked… no hard, fast rules which makes this even more enticing.
Sofrito is magical because no matter where it is used or how it is used it provides a foundation of flavor that makes your food and cooking stand out. Let me just mention a few places where you might include it and then we’ll run through the procedure for the cooked method.
Once the sofrito is made it should be portioned in usable amounts and kept in the freezer. That way it keeps indefinitely and is available any time. Sofrito can do wonders to enhance a soup, spaghetti sauce, taco meat, enchilada filling, scrambled with eggs, layered with potatoes, added to rice, included in a pasta dish, thrown in a sandwich or topping a salad.
I made this batch of sofrito using the leftover tops and bottoms of bell peppers.
I took the bottoms and removed the meat…
and then trimmed around the tops…
to get every last bit of vegetable.
In this case I had both red and green peppers, which are a nice combination because of the color they both provide.
To this batch I also added some chopped onion and garlic and I even threw in a little celery. Remember…no rules.
The mixture then needs to be sauteed in some vegetable oil until they are tender and then seasoned with salt and pepper.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then portion into containers or small baggies.
I typically will portion them in 1/2 cup amounts.
All the bags are put in a holding container and taken to the freezer for future use. Whenever you want to broaden the flavor of any food just add a packet or two and you’ll taste immediate results.