This is a great sauce for cooking beef or chicken, and also works well with veggies. The basic recipe is not spicy at all, you can add hot peppers to taste or leave it to individual diners to decide whether to spice it up.
It’s one of the classic sauces in eastern Mexico and throughout the Carribbean.
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 medium white or yellow onion
3 cloves garlic or 2 tablespoons refrigerated minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground annatto seeds or annatto paste*
½ bunch cilantro
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
1 medium tomato
*If your stores are like mine, you won’t find annatto except in whole seeds. Ground annatto and annatto paste are easily found on Amazon,com, however.
Finely chop all vegetables and place in a mixing bowl.
Add all seasonings and oil
Now you have a choice. You can finish the sauce and refrigerate it for up to two weeks (or freeze in 1-cup batches for up to 3 months), or you can add the raw sauce directly to your meat or veggies and cook it with them.
If you’re going to cook starting with the raw sofrito, place your meat and/or veggies in an oven-safe pan or in a covered frying pan, and add enough sofrito to flavor the food. I use about a half cup per serving of meat. Then add about a quarter cup of water per meat serving and cook, covered, until the meat or veggies are beautifully tender, uncovering it 15 minutes or so before its finished so the sauce will reduce a little.
If you’d like to make it up for future use, put the sauce in a saucepan and cook, covered, on low until the veggies have blended together and are soft enough to smash with a spoon.
At this point, if you like smooth consistent sauces, let it cool and blend in a blender until it’s smooth. If you’re like me and prefer chunky, either freeze it in serving size bags, I like to do a cup at a time so I can do 2 or 4 servings of food easily, or stick it in a jar to keep in the fridge.
To use, defrost and take out the desired number of servings of meat or veggies. Use 1/2 cup sauce per serving. If the meat/veggies are raw, place in a covered pan and either cook until the veggies or meat are done. You can do this on the top of the stove or in the oven. Add a quarter cup of water for 2 servings, a little more for more, and take the lid off to let the water cook out at the end.
If you want to use the sauce on pre-cooked meat or veggies, put the food on a serving plate or even better, on individual serving plates, pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sofrito on each serving, and microwave until the sauce and the meat or veggies are hot through. You might want to sprinkle a little Mexican crumbling cheese on top.