Dominican style sofrito is a flavorful sauce made with a mixture of aromatic ingredients such as garlic, onions, bell peppers, and cilantro, along with seasonings such as cumin, paprika, and vinegar. It is typically used as a base in many traditional Dominican dishes, such as stews, soups, and rice dishes, to add depth of flavor and complexity. The ingredients are blended together in a food processor or blended until smooth, and then cooked over medium heat until the mixture is fragrant and slightly thickened. The resulting sofrito is a staple in Dominican cooking, and is often used as a starting point for many different dishes.
What is it?
Culinary historians are still arguing about its origins. Some consider the country of origin to be Italy, others – Spain. The only undisputed fact is that the sauce is universal, but it is still preferred for meat and poultry dishes. Combination with fish and mushrooms is not so successful. The same cannot be said for hot vegetable dishes – here there is complete harmony.
What is sofrito good for?
Sofrito is a versatile sauce that is good for many different uses in cooking. It adds depth of flavor and complexity to dishes as a base or seasoning. Some popular dishes that often use sofrito include:
- Stews and soups: Sofrito is often used as the base for soups and stews, providing a rich and flavorful foundation for the dish.
- Rice dishes: Sofrito can be added to rice dishes to enhance the flavor and create a more aromatic and flavorful dish.
- Meat dishes: Sofrito is often used as a marinade for meat dishes, such as chicken or pork, to add flavor and tenderize the meat.
- Salsa: Some recipes use sofrito as a base for salsa, blending it with fresh ingredients such as tomatoes and jalapenos for a fresh and flavorful sauce.
Sofrito can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use, making it a convenient ingredient for busy home cooks.
Steps to make
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 bell peppers (green, red or yellow), chopped
- 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- In a food processor or blender, blend together the onions, garlic, bell peppers, cilantro, cumin, paprika, vinegar, salt, and pepper until a smooth paste forms.
- In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the sofrito paste to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is fragrant and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the sofrito from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
- Store the sofrito in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Note: This is a basic recipe, and the ingredients can be adjusted to taste. Some recipes call for the addition of ingredients such as ají dulce (a sweet chili pepper), tomato paste, or wine. Experiment with different ingredients to find your perfect sofrito.