Sofrito is a mixture of finely chopped vegetables and herbs that are lightly sautéed in oil, then pureed into a sauce. It is very common in Latin American cuisine and generally contains peppers, garlic, tomatoes, onions and fresh herbs, but many chefs create their own variations. Sofrito serves as a base for a variety of dishes and can be used in many ways.
A batch of sofrito offers many possibilities. There are no firm guidelines for using sofrito, so its versatility allows for creativity in the kitchen. Sofrito can be used as a flavor base for one-pot dishes. Add sofrito to simmering soups or stews to season them without using additional spices. Starches, especially beans or rice, pair well with sofrito. Stir 2 tbsp. (or more if you want a stronger taste) into prepared beans or rice.
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Sofrito can be incorporated into meat, poultry or seafood dishes by coating the uncooked dish with sofrito. Let the sofrito marinate the meat for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Prepare the meat according to your desired cooking method and spoon sofrito over the top as a sauce. Sofrito also works well as a condiment served on the side of any type of dish that needs a little extra flavor.
Big Batches and Storing
Sofrito is generally made in large batches so a chef can always have it on hand in the kitchen without having to go through the process of making it for every meal. After you chop and sauté your chosen ingredients, place them in a food processor and blend for 10-second increments until you get the consistency you prefer. Allow the sofrito to cool, then pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze. This method is best for whenever you want to add quick flavor to dishes. Just add a frozen sofrito cube into simmering dishes until it melts.
If you want to store leftover sofrito to use in larger amounts, pour cooled sofrito into a plastic freezer bag. Squeeze any excess air out of the bag and tightly seal it. Lay the bag flat in the freezer so the sofrito distributes evenly throughout the bag and freezes into a flat sheet. Defrost the sofrito by placing the bag in your refrigerator until it thaws, then heat it on your stove top until warmed through. This storage method is optimal for when you want to use sofrito to pour over meat, a starch or vegetable dishes as a sauce, condiment or marinade.