Sofrito is a base for many Puerto Rican recipes. You can think of it as the Spanish version of mirepoix. While you can find jarred, pre-made versions (affiliate link), there's nothing quite like homemade sofrito for your Puerto Rican cooking. This is why I always have a few portions of homemade sofrito in my freezer, ready to use the next time I whip up some arroz con gandules or habichuelas.
I plan to share a few of my family's Puerto Rican food recipes on the blog this year, and since sofrito is the base for so many of our family's recipes, I thought this would be the best recipe to share first. This is my dad's recipe, so if you make it and love it, just remember that mi papi deserves all the credit!
The full recipe is at the end of this post, but first I will share a bit about the method.
The ingredients in sofrito are simple, but amazingly fragrant when they cook. Garlic, yellow onion, green bell pepper, oregano, and culantro are all you need.
Culantro (which is not a typo) is also known as ngo gai in Vietnamese cooking. I find ngo gai at a local Asian market. If you can't find culantro or ngo gai, cilantro may be substituted.
All ingredients are placed in a food processor and pureed until finely chopped.
After pureeing, I separate the sofrito into usable portions (I find that most recipes I make call for 1/2 cup or one cup of sofrito as a base). I freeze the portions I don't need immediately, and they last a few months in the freezer.
Trust me on this... there's not much that smells better than sofrito sautéing in some olive oil with salt pork and achiote when you start cooking a Puerto Rican meal!
Stay tuned for more recipes using my dad's sofrito, but for now, have fun making this versatile base!
Sofrito (My Dad's Recipe)
- 1 medium to large yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 whole bulbs of garlic, peeled
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 medium bunch of culantro,* coarsely chopped (include most of the stems)
*Culantro is also known as ngo gai in Vietnamese cooking. I find ngo gai at a local Asian market. If you can't find culantro or ngo gai, cilantro may be substituted.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until finely chopped and all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Separate into usable quantities (I recommend 1/2 cup portions) and store in the freezer for future meals.