Typically speaking, sofrito is an aromatic seasoning sauce of herbs and spices used throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and Spain used to flavor thousands of dishes from beans to meat. Sofrito mixtures vary in ingredients based on which island or country they come from and are available in a range of colors and spice levels.
The following list will link you up with the some of the best sofritos and seasoning sauces used in Caribbean cooking. Pick your favorite and use it the next time a recipe calls for sofrito.
Dominican sofrito is called sazón in that country. Here is my interpretation of a Dominican sofrito. Ingredients include sweet bell peppers, onions, garlic, annatto, oregano, vinegar, tomato paste or sauce, and cilantro. The vinegar gives it a tang and the annatto is for flavor and color.
Here is my interpretation of a Cuban sofrito, which calls for garlic, onions and bell peppers. Other ingredients include tomatoes, dry white wine or olive oil, oregano, bay leaf and cilantro. For certain recipes, such as beans, chorizo sausage, bacon, salt pork and/or diced ham are often added.
This recipe is the one that I get the most disagreement and debate over. However, as my in-depth sofrito article explains, there is more than one way to make a sofrito. Every person has his or her own likes, dislikes and customs when it comes to food. There are as many ways to make sofrito as there are people in the Caribbean. This particular version uses parsley and tomatoes.
Cynthia Nelson shares her recipe for Green Seasoning which she uses for stew, curry, or baked poultry or meat. It is very similar to sofrito, but gets a spicy kick from habanero peppers. She also uses a variety of herbs: thyme, basil, marjoram, tarragon, and rosemary.
If you're new to Caribbean cooking and aren't sure how to go about making sofrito, follow this tutorial. I'll take you through each step of the process with an easy to follow pictorial guide. I use the Basic Sofrito recipe above in the tutorial, but the steps are pretty much the same for all sofritos. A food processor or blender makes it fast and simple.