I got the idea for this Cuban-Style Sofrito from Rachel Ray. She says her version does everything but make the beds (a potentially off-color remark). I made some changes for my version: Where Rachel adds tomato and red bells, I think that combination makes the mix turn brown, so I keep it all green and make it with Hatch peppers.
Because cilantro and peppers aren’t in season at the same time, I have to buy the cilantro — but in this instance, it’s worth it! This is one mix that is better with raw garlic, the fresher the better.
Not to be confused with Italian sofrito, which is a mix of sautéed vegetables used as a sauce base, this Cuban version is a pungent mix of raw herbs and vegetables. Cuban sofrito is used to add freshness, herbal notes and zing to many Cuban dishes.
Do try this in fresh shell beans and other bean soups and stews — so delicious! My daughter eats it piled on a plate with a slab of fresh mozzarella.
• 2 medium sweet onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
• Entire large head of garlic, peeled
• ½ teaspoon sea salt, to taste
• 2 very large Hatch peppers
• 1 or 2 ‘padron’ peppers if you can find them, or a few green ‘shishito’ peppers
• 1 large bunch of fresh cilantro, washed
Wash the cilantro and shake dry. Cut off the tougher part of the stems. Put the onions, garlic and peppers into the bowl of the food processor and run a few seconds to chop finely. Add the cilantro and run the processor, pulsing about 20 times to pull the cilantro in, until the sofrito is mostly smooth with just a bit of graininess.
Freeze the sofrito in ½-cup batches in little airtight baggies or tubs protected with a film of oil. Stir a dollop or two into all kinds of dishes, most especially any bean soup. Make plenty to put some wow! into all the bean dishes you’ll cook this winter. Yields 2 cups
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