As I sat on my sofa, beginning to write the lists that would make my Thanksgiving feast manageable, I received my email with today’s blogging prompt: Food for the Soul (and Stomach). How appropriate!
In Latino households, people will be busy making sure the most essential part of food preparation is ready. Yes, I’m speaking of making sofrito. That magical, green, richly scented concoction that no one should ever cook without. Sure Goya offers a frozen version, and in a pinch it comes in handy, but no self-respecting Latino cook goes into the holidays without a fresh batch of homemade goodness.
For those who don’t know what sofrito is, I will give you the easy version:
four large onions
four large green peppers
a package of small, sweet peppers
four heads of garlic
recao or culantro (depending on what country you’re from)
Chop and clean all the ingredients, making sure no seeds make their way into the bowl. Place all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and ‘chop’ and ‘mix’ until you end up with a thick, liquidy mixture. Add salt and black pepper. ‘Mix’ again, and you’re done.
Yes, it sounds easy and yes, it is easy, but it’s a bit labor intensive during the process. It normally takes an hour to make a supply that keeps me in sofrito for a few months (less when my kids come and take some containers home with them).
The end result is always food that tastes like you put some love into it. When you pass through a Latino neighborhood and the scents make your mouth water, you have fallen under the spell of sofrito. A tablespoon of sofrito makes it into arroz con gandules, stews, soups, spaghetti, lasagna, beans, and almost any dish that has a liquid or ground meat base. When I puncture my turkey, I put sofrito into the holes, because let’s face it, turkey is boring meat. Liven it up with sofrito or garlic and it becomes a pavochon. Way better than anything the Pilgrims ever made.
Enjoy and Buen Provecho.