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Sofrito Recipe 101: How to Make Puerto Rico’s Essential Base

Abuela Approved Badge sofrito

A sofrito recipe is a non-negotiatiable in the Puerto Rican cocina. ”If you’re cooking Boricua, you gotta have sofrito,” says Michelle Ezratty Murphy, one of our favorite homecooks and the winner of our first-ever Familia Kitchen Recipe Contest for her Puerto Rican arroz con pollo.

“This is the sofrito recipe we make in my house.” And it is phenomenal, we assure you. It’s one of our essential ingreidents in the Familia Kitchen test kitchen.

Watch Michelle Ezratty Murpy make her famous sofrito in big batches, which she’ll freeze for later use in Puerto Rican traditional dishes.

What Is Sofrito?

Not sure what sofrito adds to food or how it’s made? You’ve probably tasted it without knowing you were eating it, if you’ve ever had a Puerto Rican dish, says Michelle. Sofrito is a savory blend of mostly aromatics, including (depending on who’s making it) onions, green pepper, aji dulce, tomato, garlic, culantro and/or cilantro, and other spices. All of these are sautéd in olive oil and the resulting sauce is used to flavor traditional dishes like beef picadillo, pastelón (Puerto Rican ”lasagna” made with plantains instead of pasta layers, and, of course, the dish that inspired us to launch Familia Kitchen: Arroz con pollo

”I blend it in big batches and then freeze it in ice-cube trays. Then, it’s easy to pop out the frozen sofrito squares from the trays and store them in zip bags in my freezer for easy storage,” says Michelle.

”I like to use sofrito in soups and asopaos — things that are stewed — because garlic can get bitter when not first sautéed. My rule is to use sofrito in a recipe for something that is going to simmer a while on my stove,” she explains.

“I make my sofrito from memory now, after years of whipping it up to use in soups, stews, rice and beef dishes for that essential Boricua sabor que siempre satisfies. ¡Buen provecho!”

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito

Recipe by Michelle Ezratty Murphy
3.3 from 24 votes
Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Servings

40

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

2

minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped

  • 3 ají dulce or (if you can find them) 1 to 2 sweet chili peppers

  • 3 leaves culantro, optional (if you can find it)

  • 1 small bunch cilantro

  • 1 head garlic, large peeled (about 10 to 12 cloves)

Directions

  • Put all ingredients into a blender and mix for about 10 seconds or until all ingredients have been mixed together thoroughly.
  • Store in a glass jar for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 1 year.
  • This makes 4 to 5 cups of sofrito—or about 40 ice-cube-size servings.

Notes

  • Michelle doesm’t use sofrito for a sauce or for any recipe where it doesn’t get “stewed.” In those cases, she takes that exact mix of ingredients and sautés them first instead of putting them into the blender raw.
  • Freezing sofrito can be a hassle because you usually only need a couple of Tbsps at a time. Freezing and storing sofrito in ice-cube-tray-size chunks makes it so much easier.
  • To mix things up, sofrito-wise, she says she sometimes substitutes a yellow bell pepper for the green.

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