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Recaito - Puerto Rican Sofrito

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Culantro, the main ingredient in Recaito
Richard Jung/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Recaito is a green aromatic puree of onions, culantro (recao) leaves, garlic, green peppers and ajies dulces (small sweet chile peppers).

In Puerto Rico, recaito is used as the base seasoning known as sofrito. When preparing Puerto Rican cuisines, you may notice it called by either name.

Notice the absence of tomatoes. Typically, Puerto Ricans do not add tomatoes to their recaito. Sofrito recipes that do include tomatoes or tomato paste, sauce or juice are generally for Dominican, Cuban, Spanish, Italian, and other Mediterranean cuisines. You can read more about why this is so in my article "What is Sofrito?".

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 qt.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium green bell or Cubanelle peppers, seeds removed
  • 2 medium onions, peeled
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 bunch culantro leaves
  • 6 ajies dulces (small sweet chile peppers)

Preparation:

1. Chop and blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Cook's Notes:

Ingredients: Cubanelle Peppers are also called Italian frying peppers. Removing seeds from the ajies dulces is optional.

How to Use It: Recaito is normally used as the starting base of soups, stews, beans and rice dishes. It is first sautéed in annatto oil or lard, and then the other recipe ingredients are added. However, there are other recipes where the recaito can be added toward the end of cooking time to add a finishing touch to the recipe.

How to Store It: Because it’s such an essential ingredient, it isn’t uncommon for home cooks to prepare large batches of recaito/sofrito in order to have enough on hand to use all week long and to freeze a little for later use. Store freshly made recaito/sofrito in a glass container in the refrigerator for immediate use or feeze in 1/4 to 1/2 cup potions for use any time.

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

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