I am really excited to participate in my first Recipe Redux. Recipe Redux is a recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians to make dishes delicious and healthy. You will see links below to other reduxers and their recipes each month. Each month has a theme. This month is Green with Herb Envy where we are supposed to use a herb in a non-traditional way. I chose to make my version of sofrito. While many people wouldn’t say this is very traditional. It’s very outside the jar for me.
Since I am new to the redux, I want to tell you a little bit about myself and the reason I chose sofrito as my recipe. I am a Southern belle married to a Puerto Rican. We are both dietitians who met in our internship in Kentucky. We have a lot in common besides nutrition. We love our kids, Auburn Tigers (War Eagle!), SEC football season, cycling, and food! Due to our unceasing competitiveness, we have an ongoing and unspoken “who’s the best cook” challenge. He dared call me “meat lazy” a couple of years into our marriage, and it was on! To be honest, I was. I grew up on every casserole known to man. If you could cover it in cream of something soup, I did. Bless his heart, he ate so many casseroles the first year we were married. He is the expert when it came to seasoning food. He has mad meat skills and is constantly requested by my family to cook for them when they visit. It’s one of the reasons I fell for him anyway so I am really proud they love his food. He has made many dishes for me but never sofrito. I wanted to make my version of sofrito because I miss him terribly. He is in the Air Force and is currently deployed. I guess I really miss him lately because I have been making tostones and plenty of pork and rice. Sharing this with y’all makes me feel closer to him in some odd way.
So enough of the sappy stuff! You say cilantro. I say culantro. Do you know the difference between cilantro and culantro? Did you even know culantro existed or did you think it was a typo for cilantro? Well, you will now! They belong to the same family and smell very similiar, yet culantro is stronger. They also look very different. Culantro looks more like a lettuce leaf and is used in Latin and Asian cooking frequently. Cilantro is very easy to find at any grocery store. Culantro, on the other hand, can be somewhat difficult to find. I had to go to an international market to find it.
Now that you know about the difference, let me tell you about authentic Puerto Rican sofrito. Sofrito is the base for flavoring in many if not most of their dishes. It usually contains salt pork or ham along with lard or oil. It is traditional to cook it on the stove top with the vegetables and herbs to maximize flavors. Ajices dulces are the sweet peppers typically used but very hard to find. It is then used or frozen in small batches to use for other meals. My version is straight up herbs and vegetables. The flavor packs a punch without the added fat.
- 1 green pepper
- 1 red pepper
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 plum tomatoes
- 3 leaves of culantro
- 1/2 cup (heaping) cilantro
- Place the onion and peppers into a food processor until coarsely chopped.
- Add the remaining ingredients one at a time and process until smooth or very coarsely chopped. I like mine a little chunky
- Use in a recipe within 3 days or store in small batches in the freezer. (I use an ice cube tray.)
Now, enjoy! I used this in a roasted chicken versus traditional pork. I placed the sofrito under the skin and filled the cavity with leftover herbs, lime, onion, and garlic. I seasoned the skin with Adobo seasoning and olive oil. I cooked it at 425 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes (depends on your bird’s weight). It was the best roasted chicken I have made yet! I can’t wait for my husband to finally get home so I can surprise him! We will also be having a discussion on why I have never experienced the homemade version until now. If you haven’t tried sofrito before, you really don’t understand the deliciousness you are missing. Forgo the jarred sofrito in the grocery store and make your own.