Sofrito

sofrito

Sofrito

This is the ultimate go to, indispensable must have recipe in every Puerto Rican household. Having said that, it is really easy to make with ingredients you can find at your market. Best part of all it freezes nicely. I will have some tips below on how you can make this work for you.

Sofrito will without a doubt change the way you cook.

Ingredients:
2 medium yellow onions, cut into large chunks
20 -25 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Cups of cilantro, washed
7 to 10 ajices dulces (see note below), optional
5 leaves of culantro otherwise known as recao (see note below), or another handful cilantro
2 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
2 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
½ tablespoon of Salt
¼ teaspoon of pepper

Directions:
1. Chop the onion in the bowl of a food processor until coarsely chopped.
2. While the motor is running, add the remaining ingredients one at a time and process until smooth.
3. The sofrito will keep in the refrigerator for up to 15 days.

** Ajices Dulces, are tiny sweet peppers with a hint of heat. They range in color from light to medium green and yellow to red and orange. Warning: They are not Scotch Bonnet or Habanero chilies (which they look like).
If you can find ajices dulces in your local markets, add them to sofrito. If not, you can replace with more cilantro and add a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. Culantro is not cilantro. It has long leaves with tapered tips and its edges are serrated. The flavor of culantro is 20X more potent than cilantro, so be careful with this addition as well. If you can’t find it, skip it.

You can freeze sofrito in ½ cup batches in sealable plastic bags. They come in extremely handy in a pinch. You can even add sofrito straight from the freezer to the pan in any recipe that calls for it and most of mine will.

My Sunday Dinner – My much needed hug.

I needed a hug this week. Who am I kidding I needed more than a hug, but I would have settled. It was a rough week, filled with exhausted attempts of being Mom, Wife, Business Owner and Insurance Agent. Throw in a sick child that we had to run to a hospital ER and hold back from school for the week and you have a mess. Me, I was the mess. I made it though! My child is back at school, I am back in the swing of things and I must say that is partly because of the therapeutic cooking session I provided for myself.

Sunday Dinners have been oh so symbolic for so many including myself. I do not partake in the tradition on a weekly basis, it has never felt right to do so when your family is not complete on said Sundays. This Sunday my children were not all with me but I could not wait for the next to get the hug I needed so I created it anyway.

My hug consisted of Pot Roast, Garlic Mashed Cauliflower, Buttered Peas and Corn and last but not least my Feta-Tomato Salad.

POT ROAST

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Ingredients:
3-4 lbs of chuck roast
Vegetable Oil (approx. 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup of chopped Carrots
1 medium red Onion cut in 4
1 medium yellow onion cut in 4
1/4 cup Tomato Sauce
1 cup of Beef Broth
Adobo (Red Label) 1 1/2 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 crushed heads of Garlic
2 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Sofrito If you need this recipe – Click here http://wp.me/p2gfav-32
Dutch Oven

So many have asked me what the secret to my succulent and fork tender pot roast is, the answer… my dutch oven. That is why I have it listed as an ingredient. Can you make one just as good in a roaster pan? Yes. I certainly have but I am all about working smart and not hard. This recipe is fool-proof and you don’t have to deal with the pot roast in any way shape or form until the timer goes off.

Directions:

  • Season your meat on all sides with the Adobo, Salt and Pepper.
  • Get your dutch oven really hot, then coat the bottom with vegetable oil and sear all sides of the meat. Once you have seared all of the sides remove the roast from the dutch oven and set aside on a plate for a moment.
  • To the dutch oven you will add the onions, carrots, and garlic. Let all of those flavors get acquainted with the juices left behind from the roast. (about 3 minutes)
  • While the veggies are hanging out, in a bowl mix the Sofrito, Tomato Sauce, Worcestershire and Beef Broth.
  • The veggies at this point should be sweating and starting to get soft, nestle the chuck roast into the dutch oven amongst the veggies.
  • Now you will pour the wet ingredients that you just mixed over the roast. Place the lid on the dutch oven and pop into the oven for 3 to 3.5 hours.

GARLIC MASHED CAULIFLOWER

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I have had a helluva time trying to make mashed cauliflower. They retain a lot of water so the consistency was not a good one. So I ignored my momma’s rules, played with my veggies and this was the happy result.

Ingredients:
1 head of Cauliflower
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese
3 Garlic Heads (Smashed)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375.

  • Make an aluminum purse, you will be adding the florets to the tightly sealed “purse” and placing in the oven. I made two of them for 1 head of cauliflower.

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  • Clean your cauliflower and break the florets up.
  • Place the cauliflower in the aluminum, drizzle a little bit of olive oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper and add the smashed garlic heads.
  • Seal the edges tightly. Place on a sheet pan and bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.
  • Once baked through let the cauliflower and garlic cool slightly before placing in your food processor.
  • Add the parmesan cheese and pulse away. Once it is the consistency you like put it in a bowl and add more seasoning if needed. You can also put in a baking dish, add more cheese and pop in the oven for another 15 minutes at 400.

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#YUM

BUTTERED PEAS AND CORN

This is a quick and easy side dish that tons of moms have up their sleeve, but just in case ya don’t know what I’m talking about… Here you go.

Ingredients:
1 Can of Sweet Corn (drained and rinsed)
1 Can of Sweet Peas (drained and rinsed)
1 Tablespoon of Butter (Sweetened and Salted)
1/4 teaspoon minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  • In a small pan on medium low heat melt the butter. Once melted, you will brown the garlic.
  • Once the garlic is a nice tan color you will add both the drained and rinsed veggies. Heat thoroughly (about 3 minutes), add salt and pepper (to taste).

Serve immediately.

FETA-TOMATO SALAD

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Ingredients:
1 pint of Grape Tomatoes (halved)
2 ounces of Bulgarian Feta – Crumbled (Any feta will do I just happen to love the creamy nature of Bulgarian)
1/4 cup of Sweet Corn
Half of a medium avocado – cubed
2 tablespoons Fresh Basil-Chiffonade (Cut into long, thin strips)
Balsamic Vinaigrette to taste (Recipe to my Balsamic Vinaigrette below)

Directions:
Toss all of the ingredients gently, very gently. You do not want to mash anything just combine.

 

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2 cup Olive oil
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of honey
1 tablespoon Oregano
1 tablespoon of basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together. If you want it a little creamier/thicker in consistency add 1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard.

 

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BUEN PROVECHO!

Chupe de Mariscos (Seafood Chowder)

This past holiday season for me was a chance for redemption. I felt the need to make up for the 2012 season. I was so overwhelmed and busy that I did not get to enjoy the holidays at all, worst of all my kids noticed that I was not my best. I don’t even remember what I cooked which is a big deal because… well I love to cook! This year I took time for my self and my family and planned each menu with love. For NYE I stepped away from our traditional roasted pork and rice and opted for Seafood. The Menu consisted of Ceviche, Paella, Scallops and Chupe de Mariscos.

This recipe is my take on Peruvian Seafood Chowder. I love Peruvian food. Who am I kidding? I love food period! I hope that you love this dish as much as my family and guests did.

Ingredients: 

10 Cups of Chicken Broth

1 lb of Shrimp

1 lb of White fish cut  (I like to use Red Snapper but you can use whatever white fish you like)

3 medium-sized potatoes cubed

1/2 cup of chopped carrots (bite size)

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1 small onion (chopped)

2 tablespoons of Sofrito

1 cup of sweet peas

1 cup of sweet corn

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

2 cans of evaporated milk

6 eggs – *tempered* – See below for instructions

2 tablespoons of Oregano

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes

1/4 cup of Cilantro

2 tablespoons of butter

First you will set to boil the Chicken Stock. Salt the stock to taste. While this is going you will want to mince your garlic finely and chop your onion, potatoes, carrots and cilantro.

In a small pan you will melt the butter and saute the onions & garlic. Keep an eye on the garlic, do not let it burn.Image

Once the chicken stock boils add the sautéed onions. garlic. potatoes, carrots, tomato paste, oregano, pepper and sofrito.

Once the veggies are cooked through and soft you will add the fish and shrimp. Shrimp and Fish will take about 15 minutes to cook through. While this is happening you will want to start steaming the evaporated milk and tempering the eggs. (Instructions on this below). When the fish have been cooked halfway through you will add the milk with *tempered eggs, peas, corn and allow for the cooking process to be completed. Add more salt or pepper if needed.

Garnish with chopped cilantro!

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Buen Provecho!!

* Tempering an egg – To temper an egg, or multiple eggs, you need a large bowl and a whisk. Give the eggs a brief whisk in the bowl. Take your hot milk mixture and, working with just a few teaspoons at a time, pour it into the eggs as you whisk continuously. Adding the milk in this slowly prevents the eggs from being cooked instantly from exposure to heat. Keep adding the milk in very small increments until all of it has been added. Strain the egg mixture back into your saucepan, removing any bits of egg that might have gotten cooked, and proceed with your recipe as written.

Stewed Oxtails

Stewed Oxtails

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds oxtails
  • 1 tablespoon of Adobo (You can make your own house seasoning, see below)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, cut into 8 big chunks/pieces
  • 3 medium sized red potatoes cut in quarters.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1.   Sprinkle the oxtails liberally with Adobo on both sides.
  2.   Coat the bottom of a heavy oven-proof Dutch oven (or an oven proof heavy pot with a tight lid) with the vegetable oil. Once heated, add the oxtails and sear on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  3. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, basil, oregano, bay leaves, tomato sauce, and the reserved oxtails.
  4. Stir all ingredients together.
  5. Cover tightly, place in oven for 2 hours
  6. Remove from oven and bring to a simmer on stove top. Add the onion wedges and     potatoes. Reduce the oven temp to 300 degrees F.
  7. Cover and put back into the oven for another 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Serve oxtails with the vegetables over hot buttered rice.

Adobo (House seasoning)

  • 1 cup of salt
  • ¼ cup of pepper (white or black)
  • ¼ cup of garlic powder
  • ¼ cup of onion powder
  • ¼ cup of oregano

Mix all ingredients and put in containers that can be sealed. This can be stored for 4 months and used as your “go to” condiment on all meats, poultry and fish!

HEALTHY TIP: You can add mushrooms and carrots to make a heartier healthier stew. You can also serve over a bed of seasoned roasted cauliflower and broccoli!