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Published: Sunday, 3/11/2012

Tweak basic sofrito to suit your style

BY ALICIA ROSS
KITCHEN SCOOP

Several different culinary styles claim sofrito as theirs. I don't care so much about where it originated as much as the amazing depth and savory goodness it can add to my recipes today. In its most simple form, sofrito is a seasoned, chopped vegetable sauce (or condiment) that is added to other dishes for flavor. And, once you start preparing it, it's one of those dishes that you'll always want to stash in the fridge. There are as many ways to make sofrito as there are cooks who rely on its savory goodness as a base for soups, a topping for stews, as a condiment for sandwiches, or a flavoring for fresh vegetables -- stirred in just before serving.

My Simple Savory Sofrito is a good start for those who are just beginning to enjoy its simple complexity. As you cook with sofrito and add it to your dishes, you'll find you begin to make adjustments and add your own flair to the basic recipe.

That is the beauty of sofrito: Your recipe will reflect your seasoning preferences and needs. Like a good pair of shoes adapts to your feet, your sofrito will adapt to your cooking needs perfectly.

And then you'll pass the recipe on to a few friends who, after a while, will adapt it to their needs. Remember, it's a recipe; not a rule: Adjust it, improve it, add your own touch. Then you'll have the best recipe for sofrito, because it will be yours.

Contact Alicia Ross at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to tellus@kitchenscoop.com. Or visit the Kitchen Scoop Web site at kitchenscoop.com.

Simple Savory Sofrito

Start to finish: less than 15 minutes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion, all three peppers, and garlic. Sautee until onions are soft, about 4 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and cumin, and stir to mix well. Stir and cook another 2 to 3 minutes to blend flavors well.

Stir in cilantro and cook for another minute to wilt cilantro. Serve. Will refrigerate for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Also freezes well for up to 2 months.

Yield: About 2 cups

Approximate values per 1/4 cup: 44 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 152 mg sodium



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