What do herbs, spices and vegetables have in common? They grow from seeds buried in the dirt and have many health benefits on their own and in harmony with one another. They sing- in cooking and baking- two of my all-time favorite things to do that I want to begin sharing with you here!
At Botánicaromática working with botanicals and aromatics is both a science and an art. It’s not much different, for me, from the goodness I prepare in the kitchen. I often wonder if this is where my love of formulating stems from (I’ll be meditating on that). It’s a balancing act between all the 5 senses and 7 different tastes: sweet, bitter, sour, salty, meaty (umami), cool, and hot. But this is a topic for another post.
If you’ve read my roots, you have a greater appreciation for my calling and you’ve seen that there are a few home-grown culinary and wellness non-recipes that I’ve learned from my mother and from mamá, as a young girl. In addition to those, I’ve concocted and made my own along the way.
Today I'm lovingly sharing with you a small-batch, non-recipe for Sofrito that does the mind, body and spirit good and is mother approved 😃
Sofrito: a staple in most Latin, Caribbean and Mediterranean dishes and one that always makes its way into most of my own creations: from dips to salsas and chutneys, beans, soups, sauces and stews, broths, rice dishes, marinades, salad dressing and the most flavorful guacamole you’ve ever tasted!
There are many variations of this aromatic and mouthwatering base, made with 4 simple ingredients packed with potential health benefits supported by scientific studies:
Garlic – Sulfur compounds released when chopped, crushed or chewed, helps support the immune system, may reduce the duration of colds and flus, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, improve memory health and contains significant levels of Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Selenium and Fiber.
Onion – Like garlic, shallots, leeks and chives, also from the Allium genus, is rich in Vitamins B, C and Potassium and is antioxidant, can help support red cell production, iron absorption, immune regulation and metabolism.
Cilantro – Rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect the plant and us humans from external stressors, Vitamins A and K, Flavonoids and Quercetin, may support elimination of heavy metals from our bodies collected in our tissues, can help calm the nervous system and improve sleep, it also contains antibacterial compounds which may help relieve urinary tract discomfort and settle digestive upset.
Bell Pepper (green, yellow, orange, or red) – Packed with Vitamins A, C and Potassium, Fiber, Folate, Iron and Beta-carotene, it has anti-inflammatory effects that can protect against cell damage, boost the immune system and improve eye and skin health.
Here’s a small batch non-recipe that’s simple to prepare, yielding about 3 cups.
Sofrito Vegetable Base Ingredients:
3-4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 large bunch of cilantro, stems removed (or culantro/recao broader leaf bolder taste)
1 large bell pepper or a hand full of ajicitos dulces 8-10 destemmed, seeded and quartered (note that red bell peppers contain higher amounts of Vitamin C and Beta-carotene than green, orange or yellow)
Add all ingredients into a food processor and chop and pulse until achieving a consistency between relish and chunky salsa depending on what you wish to use it for.
I use this base to make dips to salsas, chutneys broths, marinades, salad dressing and guacamole.
You may store your Sofrito in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in individual portions in freezer containers or an ice cube tray for later use for up to 2 months.
To prepare Sofrito as a base for beans, soups, stews, sauces, rice dishes or anything else you can dream up, sauté 2-3 heaping tablespoons of the vegetable base in 2-3 tablespoons of Spanish olive oil, add 5-6 small Spanish olives (stuffed with pimentos and packed in water and capers), and a teaspoon of the capers, 1 cup of fresh plum tomatoes, deseeded and quartered, add ample amounts of salt, pepper and dried ground oregano, paprika, coriander and cumin to taste and gently sauté over medium heat until fragrant about 4-5 minutes.
Try Sofrito in your next recipe calling for a fresh, clean burst of nutritious aromatic flavor!
NOTE: Whatever you do, refrain from purchasing the already made Sofrito in a jar at the supermarket! You will be depriving yourself of this delicious culinary experience.
If you like this non-recipe, or would like to share your Sofrito experience, follow me on Instagram to leave me a comment. I’ll be sure to share more like this in future DIY posts.