I’m not sure if sofrito (the rich aromatic base used in many Spanish and Latin American dishes) counts as a recipe for Summer/Fall Fest’s garlic week, but with six cloves of garlic, it should.

garlic cloves

Slow cooked as a saute or braise, sofrito is added like mirepoix (celery, carrots, and onions sauteed in butter) to legumes, rice, soups, sauces, and stews to add depth to many dishes.

Traditionally, Spanish sofrito is made by sauteeing annatto seeds (the slightly musky-flavored seeds from the annatto tree, a.k.a achiote seeds) in rendered pork fat. The seeds are removed before the chopped onions, green peppers, garlic, pork, and herbs are cooked in the red tinged oil until the ingredients meld into a vibrant sauce. Italy has their own version of soffrito made with chopped celery, green peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs sauteed in olive oil. In France, it’s mirepoix.

The sofrito I make is rather straightforward. I use roma tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. I do blanch the tomatoes before peeling and seeding them, but you could just as easily leave the skins on if you’re in a hurry.

sofrito tray

Once the tomatoes and flavors cook down to a thick sauce, about 30 minutes or so, either use the sofrito right awawy or allow it to cool before storing in the refrigerator topped with olive oil or in the freezer in ice cube trays (my preferred method since I use it in small batches).

sofrito cube

You may want to puree it, but I generally don’t.

I like vegetable chunks.

Any ideas on how to use sofrito?

(printable recipe)

adapted from Put ‘Em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton

Yield about 2 cups

2 pounds tomatoes (I like to use romas)
1 pound sweet peppers
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion (finely chopped)
6 garlic cloves (minced)
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

Prepare an ice bath in a clean sink or bowl.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the tomatoes into the water, 1 pound at a time, and return to a boil. Blanch for 1 minute.

Scoop the tomatoes out of the water with a slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice-water bath. Continue blanching the tomatoes in batches. Remove from the ice bath and drain. Cool, peel, dice, and set aside. Remove the stems, seeds, and ribs from the peppers, and chop them finely.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the peppers and onions until the onions are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute one minute. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium, and saute until thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to legumes, rice, soup, sauce, or stew.

Or allow to cool and preserve. To refrigerate: ladle into bowls or jars and cover with a thin coat of olive oil then refrigerate up to 2 weeks. To freeze: divide the sofrito into two-ice cube trays and freeze. Transfer the cubes to a storage container and freeze for up to 6 months.

Read these Fall Fest participants on garlic:

Margaret at A Way to Garden: Growing and Storing a Year of Garlic
Todd and Diane at White on Rice Couple: Garlic Knots
Sara at Food2: Easiest Recipes Ever, Starring Garlic
Michelle at Cooking Channel: Roasted Garlic
Liz at Healthy Eats: 5 Reasons to Eat More Garlic
Kirsten at FN Dish: Garlic Chicken Greats
Caroline at the Wright Recipes: Ajo Blanco Soup, and Confit Garlic
The Gilded Fork: Garlic Dossier and Recipes
Food Network UK: Glorious Garlic
Alana at Eating from the Group Up: Pickled Garlic
Cate at Sweetnicks: Double Dose of Garlic—Cuban Black Beans and The Best Pork Ever
Caron at San Diego Foodstuff: Italian Marinated Eggplant and Sorrel and Garlic Sauce
Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Spicy Pickled Garlic
Paige at The Sister Project: Spaghetti with Garlic and Zucchini


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