In Cuban cuisine, sofrito is prepared with the main components of onions, garlic, and green bell peppers. It is a base for beans, stews, rices, and other dishes, including ropa vieja and picadillo. Other secondary components include, but are not limited to: tomato sauce, dry white wine, cumin, bay leaf and cilantro (coriander). Chorizo (sausage), tocino (salt pork) and ham are added for specific recipes, like beans. The secret to a good sofrito is to let it simmer a while so all the tastes meld.
21 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
8 to 10 garlic cloves, chopped
1 or 2 bay leaves
touch of ground cumin
touch of dried oregano
3/4 cup Sherry, or to taste
4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste (optional)
Sautee tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin and oregano in oil slowly until all vegetables are limp. Add Sherry and let simmer. If you add the salt, taste beforehand as you might not need it at all.
The most popular sauce, used to accompany not only roasted pork, but also the viandas, is Mojo or Mojito (not to be confused with the Mojito cocktail), made with oil, garlic, onion, spices such as oregano and bitter orange or lime juice. The origin of Cuban mojo comes from the mojo sauces of the Canary Islands. Cuban mojo is made with different ingredients, but the same idea and technique is used from the Canary Islands. Of course with so many Canary Islander immigrants in Cuba, the Canary Islander influence was strong.
* 1/2 cup olive oil shopping list
* 8 cloves garlic, minced shopping list
* 3/4 cup fresh lime, grapefruit, lime or pineapple juice
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin shopping list
* salt and ground black pepper to taste
To mince garlic, slice a peeled clove lengthwise, cut through once or twice horizontally, then chop crosswise into very fine pieces. Using caution when adding the juice to the hot oil, as it may splatter. A deep saucepan is a wise precaution. Mojo can be stored for a few days, but is best when fresh. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, 20-30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Carefully stir in and bring to a boil the lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Let cool and serve at room temperature. This sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days. Makes 1 cup.
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