What is Sofrito?

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What is Sofrito?
Sofrito refers to a sauce or culinary base involving garlic, tomatoes, and onions cooked or sautéed using olive oil. In traditional Spanish cuisine, these ingredients are chopped in little pieces and are sautéed in olive oil for about half an hour. The Spanish “sofrito” is also associated with the French word “soffritto”, which means a sautéed dish.

Sofrito is commonly used as a culinary base for a variety of meat dishes, sauces, and stews or broths. But aside from the original Spanish version of this culinary base, sofrito is also prepared in other Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean and the Latin American continent. Countries in these areas usually include more herbs and roasted peppers in the sauté mix. Cuba, for example, mixes a lot more ingredients to sofrito for its own tasty version. These ingredients may include cumin, oregano, cilantro and some bay leaves. Some Cubans even put chorizo, ham, or bacon strips into the sofrito mix. Meanwhile, the sofrito in Puerto Rico usually has recao and aji dulce or bell peppers added into the mix. It is also common for Puerto Ricans to use sofrito alongside meat dishes, such as cured and salted meats. In the Dominican Republic, sofrito is called “sazon” and pertains to a mixture of water, vinegar, and the juice from tomatoes. This culinary mix is typically used with beans, rice, and stews. Various other herbs, vegetables, and spices are also included in the Dominican version of sofrito. These other ingredients may include bell peppers of different varieties, red onions, garlic, oregano, cilantro, parsley and cilantro.

Sofrito is also popular in other countries like Greece. Their version of sofrito refers to a steak form of dish, usually involving veal meat. The meat is typically cooked slowly in a mixture of white wine, herb sauce, and garlic. This popular Greek dish can be found almost exclusively in the island of Corfu and is typically served with rice. Other countries that have their own version of sofrito are Italy, France, and Haiti.


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