The primary ingredients in Cuban sofrito are onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Common secondary ingredients include tomatoes, dry white wine, oregano, bay leaf, and cilantro. Chorizo sausage, bacon, salt pork and/or diced ham are often added for specific recipes, such as beans.
Here's my take on Cuban sofrito. For a vegan or vegetarian version, just leave out the diced ham.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 1 small bay leaf
- 2 large Spanish onions (peeled and diced)
- 2 large bell peppers (red, seeded and diced)
- 4 tablespoons diced ham
- 5 Roma tomatoes (diced)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 bunch cilantro (chopped fine)
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (chopped fine)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over low heat.
- When the oil is hot, saute garlic, bay leaf, onions, peppers, diced tomatoes, and ham until onions and peppers are soft.
- Stir in the tomato paste and allow to caramelize. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and oregano.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove the bay leaf.
- Puree the cooled mixture in a blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- You can use it right away in a recipe calling for sofrito or place the mixture in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
Ingredients: The red bell peppers and tomatoes give this recipe a red to orange color.
How to Use It: As sofritos, it is used as a base for soups, stews, beans, and rice dishes. The sofrito is sautéed in olive oil to release the aromatics, and then the main recipe ingredients are added. However, there are times when the sofrito can be added toward the end of cooking time to add a finishing touch to the recipe.
How to Store It: Make a large batch to use all week long and freeze a little for later. Store freshly made sofrito in a glass container in the refrigerator or freeze in 1/4 to 1/2 cup portions for use any time.
In the islands, sofrito may go by different names and there are several sofrito variations. Read my article about sofrito to learn about sofrito's beginnings, history, and how it came to islands, becoming an essential ingredient in the cuisines of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.
Guide's Response to User Reviews
In order to leave a fair and accurate review, please make the recipe before posting. There are many variations of sofrito throughout the world. If you want to make a different version of sofrito please see the list of sofrito recipes. If you want to know more about the history of sofrito and how it arrived in the Caribbean, please read my in-depth article on sofrito. - Hector Rodriguez, Your Guide to Latin Caribbean Food