Tuesday, October 11, 2011

AMH Cooks: Sofrito & Recaito

I wanted to get back to the recipes portion of this blog for a moment. by sharing two recipes that I love and use often.

Connecticut has a huge Puerto Rican population and I have come to love a lot of the foods that they make. I've also come to appreciate a lot of the seasonings that they use and have come to use a lot of them in my own cooking. These are two staple items that are used in Puerto Rican cooking and if you don't live in an area that offers large ethnic grocery sections like I do then you can make them yourself. Also, if you just prefer fresh then you can make them yourself.  So far these are the best recipes I have found for them and they both come from Daisy Martinez, the host of tv's Daisy Cooks. If you've never tried Spanish food...please give it a try, you won't regret it. If you've never seen Daisy's show..please check it out...she's AMAZING!!! So, on that note, here are her recipes that I use all the time and highly recommend!

Sofrito - Can be used in almost every dish. Similar to how a lot of people use season salt in almost everything....this has the same amount of flexibility. From rice and vegetable dishes to soups and sauces, to meats and seafood, etc. I cannot recommend this one highly enough. Once you try it, you will look for ways to use it. It can also be frozen and used as needed.
2 medium Spanish onions, cut into large chunks
3 to 4 Italian frying peppers or cubanelle peppers
16 to 20 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large bunch cilantro, washed
7 to 10 ajices dulces (see note below), optional
4 leaves of culantro (see note below), or another handful cilantro
3 to 4 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
Makes about 4 cups
Chop the onion and cubanelle or Italian peppers in the work bowl of a food processor until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients one at a time and process until smooth. The sofrito will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
If you can’t find ajices dulces or culantro, simply up the amount of cilantro to 1 ½ bunches

Recaito - I love this in all kinds of things just like sofrito. Both are excellent, but this has a distinctly fresher taste to me which I think lends itself better to things like bean soups and meat dishes. It's AMAZING on a pork roast! Although I will also mix it with mayonnaise and make a very nice spread for sandwiches. Just like sofrito, it can get you out of almost any kitchen emergency. It also freezes very well so make extra and keep it on hand..
Makes about 1 ½ cups

1 medium Spanish onion, cut into big chunks
8 cloves garlic, peeled
6 ajicitos dulces (see recipe for Sofrito) or 1 cubanelle peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into chunks
4 leaves culantro (if you can't find culantro, increase the amount of Iajicitos or cilantro by half)
6 big sprig cilantro, stems and all, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup packed)

Place the onion and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients, one at a time and process, until the mixture is smooth. 

Please make sure when you are purchasing your ajices dulces that you in fact do have that pepper, not just aji pepper or habanero. Ajices dulces are sweet with no heat at all.
Whatever extra amounts you have can be poured into ice trays, frozen and then bagged for later use.
Hope you enjoy and let me know how you have used these recipes! 

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