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Puerto Rican Sofrito

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Here is an unusual sauce that is almost a stew. In Puerto Rico, some 
cooks depend on only the bell peppers for Capsicum flavor; others add
some rocotillo chiles, as I do if I can find them. Otherwise, I use a
fourth the amount of habaneros. Serve this sauce over a rice or black
bean dish.


At a glance
Chile peppers
Cooking Method
Heat Level
2 cups
1/2 pound salt pork, diced
2 tablespoons annatto (achiote) seeds
4 onions, finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeds removed, chopped
4 rocotillo chiles, seeds and stems removed, chopped, or substitute 1
1/2 pound ham, diced
3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a large skillet, fry the salt pork over medium heat, stirring 
occasionally, until the pieces have no fat and are crisp and brown.
Remove the pork and reserve. Add the annatto seeds to the pan and cook,
stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove the
skillet from the heat, strain the mixture, discard the seeds, and return
the fat to the skillet.
Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers, and rocotillo chiles and saute
until the onion is tender soft, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining
ingredients and simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes,
stirring from time to time.
This sauce may be canned in sterilized jars or kept in the refrigerator
for about 5 days.


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