April 19, 2009

Versatile "sofrito"

In Puerto Rico, we call a pepper/onion/cilantro (or recao) mixture "sofrito" and it is used as a base for almost everything from soups to rice and beans. This one does not use the usual aji dulce pepper. Instead, I opted for cubanelles and spiced it up w/ some chipotle chili powder and cumin.

Spiced Sofrito

1 cubanelle pepper
1 medium yellow onion
6 cloves garlic
bunch fresh cilantro (~1/2 cup, loose, chopped)
1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons if using Morton, has double the sodium)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

Blend all ingredients in the low-chop setting of your blender or process until smooth in your food processor.

Yields about 1 1/2 cups.

Tortillas/Quesadilla Dip

Mix 1 cup of regular sour cream with 2-3 tablespoons of the sofrito. Let sit in the fridge for a few hours to set. Use for dipping anything from veggies to chips or quesadillas.

Grilled Whole Chicken

Wash and pat dry a whole chicken. Cut through the middle of the sternum bone to split both breasts and flatten the chicken for faster grilling. Season generously with the sofrito through cavities and underneath the skin.

Preheat your grill and grill at 350F for 45-50 minutes (about 25 minutes each side). Start w/ the back side first.