Almost every country bordering the Mediterranean boasts of its own Sofrito recipe. The dish has also travelled widely beyond its shores and is now considered to be a popular dish in Latin America as well.
Sofrito is known as sofregit in Valencia and ginisá in the Philippines. It also goes by the name of refogado in the Portuguese speaking countries of the world.
History Of The Sofrito Recipe
The Sofrito is believed to have been consumed during the Medieval Period when the Spanish peasants considered the onions to be a full mean. Onions sautéed in olive oil were used to prepare the primeval Sofrito and tomatoes were added to the dish much later after they were introduced to the Spanish cuisine after the discovery of America.
The dish has also found mention in the Libre de Sent Sovi of 1324.
Ingredients And Popular Sofrito Recipe
The Spanish as well as the Latin American cuisine make use of the Sofrito as the primary base for many of their dishes. While garlic, onions and tomatoes are the main ingredients of the thick sauce like dish, it is the added ingredients in the Sofrito recipe that distinguishes the dish belonging to diverse nations.
Cilantro leaves along with red and green peppers are frequently added to the dish making it even more aromatic. The garnishing is done with parsley leaves in Spain.
Variations Of Sofrito
• Caribbean Version: Prepared from Lard or rendered salt pork mixed with peppers, cured ham and chilies.
• Cuban Version- Onions, Green peppers and garlic are the main ingredients with tomatoes being added only if required.
• Dominican Republic Cuisine- Used as a base for most stews, it contains finely chopped pepper, onions and garlic immersed in a mixture of water and vinegar. Tomato juice is added to the mixture infrequently.
• Greek Version- A specialty of Corfu, the Sofrito refers to a veal steak instead of a tomato based dish here.
• Puerto Rican Cuisine- Used to flavor rice and legumes, it contains recao which lends the dish its characteristic flavor.
Nutritional Facts Of Sofrito
The Spanish Sofrito is a healthy dish as it contains a number of fresh vegetables sautéed in olive oil which is beneficial for health too. A single serving of the dish contains 237 calories generally which can go up depending on the additional ingredients used. The Latin American and Caribbean cuisines add ham and salt pork to the sauce that enhances the protein along with its sodium content and cholesterol.
Sofrito is considered to be a cooking method in the Sephardic cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean region.