Because exploring ethnic grocery stores remains one of my favorite past-times, I feel fortunate to live in a city as ethnically diverse as Milwaukee. I love ethnic food adventures so much, that 2 years ago for Mother’s Day, my husband drove me all over Milwaukee’s South side so that we could investigate all of the Greek and Turkish grocers. We took turns going in the stores while our girls slept in the back seat. It was nap time.
Milwaukee’s South side is rife with immigrant-owned mom and pop establishments. Although we have fewer on the North side, a few gems exist. El Pueblo, a Puerto Rican/Caribbean specialty store just down the street from my house, is one such gem. It was here that I discovered sofrito in the freezer section. After asking, the owner explained that sofrito is a seasoning made with tomatoes, peppers, onions and herbs. Sofrito is a constant of Puerto Rican cuisine added to various dishes like beans, eggs, rice, and meats. I took it home; I tried it out; I loved it, and thought, “I can make that.” And so I did with all locally-grown ingredients of course. After researching and testing many recipes I came up with my own.
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 cups onions, minced
- 3 cups red and green bell peppers, minced
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
- 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 cup tomato, cored, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 lime, juice
- 2 t salt
- 2 t black pepper
- Chop or process ingredients in a food processor and combine.
- Place sofrito in freezer safe bags, removing all air.
- Date and label.
- Freeze sofrito flat in the bags so that it is easy to break off frozen chunks as needed.
- Fresh sofrito will keep for about a week in the fridge.
Cooking with Kids: I make sofrito with a food processor. The kids are in charge of pushing the button. They love this task. The processor is a noisy, electric machine with a button and a sharp blade. Nothing could be more irresistible to a little kid