Versatile sofrito makes flavorful cooking easy

Homemade chicken and cheese burritos are more flavorful with the addition of sofrito.

The number of Mexican restaurants around metro Atlanta is proof that Atlantans love good Mexican cuisine.  Many people believe that good Mexican and Latin cooking is too difficult and time consuming to prepare and they choose to eat out rather than cook at home.

The wonderful and versatile sofrito is a concoction that good cooks around Atlanta do not want to be without.  Originally used primarily in Italian cooking, this wonderful mix of flavors enhances all types of cuisine.  Sofrito is easy to make and this recipe makes quite a bit.  This gives you the opportunity to freeze menu-size portions for later use.  Just grab a packet out of the freezer to perk up any dish you’re preparing from burritos to pasta.  Sofrito livens up humdrum dishes by adding flavor and freshness.  Prepare it with fresh organic ingredients.  It is not cooked, making it even more nutritious, and it adds a wonderful flavor to food as a stir-in at the end of cook time or as a sauce spread over the finished dish.

Sofrito

  • 3 large green bell peppers, cored, seeded, cut into chunks
  • 2 medium onions, skinned, cut into chunks
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded, cut into chunks
  • 1 head of garlic, separated into cloves, peel cloves
  • 2 bunches of cilantro, washed, coarsely chopped

Place some of each of the items in the bowl of a food processor and run on medium until chopped.  Keep adding ingredients until everything has been chopped.  Run food processor on high speed until mixture is smooth.  It should be about the thickness of tomato sauce.  If it seems too stiff, add a little water and blend.  Dip some out with a spoon and drop it back in.  If it gently pours off the spoon, it is a good consistency.

Do not add salt until you are ready to use.  That way you can adjust the amount of salt to complement the food with which it will be eaten.

This recipe makes approximately four cups.  Spoon it into snack-size zipper-lock plastic storage bags.  Make 1/4 to 1/2 cup portions depending on the size of your family.  Squeeze as much air out of the bags as you can and close.  Lay the bags on a flat tray and place in freezer until mixture is frozen.  Place the frozen packets into a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag.  The large bag keeps them organized so you can see when you are running low and will want to make more.  Once you begin using sofrito, you will not want to run out!

For your first dish, you might want to try sofrito on chicken and cheese burritos so here is an easy recipe:

Chicken and cheese burritos

  • 1/2 cup refried beans
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, pulled into shreds
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (substitute pepper jack cheese for more spice)
  • 1/2 cup taco sauce
  • 4 soft flour tortillas

Lay the tortillas flat on work surface.  Divide the refried beans into four portions and spread evenly over tortillas.  Place 1/2-cup chicken lengthwise down center of each tortilla then sprinkle 1/4-cup shredded cheese over chicken.  Divide taco sauce into four portions and drizzle over chicken and cheese.  Fold tortillas and wrap each one in a paper towel.  Microwave one at a time for 30 seconds.  If additional time is required, microwave at 15-second intervals until heated through.  Unwrap and lay on individual plates.  Top with sofrito.  Serve immediately.  Yield: 4 servings  Note: If you desire, burritos may be heated on the stovetop in a pan to which a little oil has been added rather than heating them in the microwave.


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