Latin American onion-pepper sofrito
Even though it’s one of my favorite types of food to make and eat, it seems I hardly ever post Mexican recipes. Why is this? Well, for one, most of the time when I make “homemade” Mexican, it involves opening a can of beans, chopping a few random veggies, maybe making some rice, popping open a can of tomatoes, indiscriminately dousing the whole thing with cumin, chili powder, and hot sauce, and calling it a day. Hardly post-worthy. Though this blog does contain a handful of Mexican oldies-but-goodies (like rainbow Mexi-quinoa medley, roasted potato wraps with black bean hummus, black bean-avocado enchiladas, and one of my all-time favorites, chilaquiles casserole), the overall lack of Latin-inspired posts has been mildly bothersome to me.
But no more. Since the publication of Terry Romero’s Viva Vegan, I have been on a Mexican food craze! I can’t seem to get enough of it (and that’s definitely not a complaint). I was excited about Viva Vegan from the moment I heard it was forthcoming – it’s about time we got a vegan cookbook geared toward Latin food aficionados – and I’m loving the book as much as I’d hoped I would. The first thing that caught my eye was the picture of yellow rice, Venezuelan-style black beans, and Cuban “ropa vieja”-style shredded seitan—a culturally mishmashed composite dish made up of three separate recipes plus sofrito, a slow-braised combination of aromatic ingredients which is a starter to many other Latin dishes. In a 3-hour marathon cooking session on a Monday night, I made the entire meal, all four components, but I don’t recommend that (it was exhausting!), so I’m going to spread out the recipes (my adapted versions of Terry’s) throughout this week. We’ll start with the sofrito, which will keep for a good two weeks in the fridge.
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper (or another green or red), chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Heat the oil in a heavy pot or pan over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, garlic, salt, and ground pepper and sauté, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.
Turn the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes, until the mixture is soft and reduced from its original volume by about 1/3.
Use immediately, or cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. I could honestly probably eat this as-is over rice, but it’s invaluable as a time-saving starter to the other recipes you’ll see here this week. In the meantime, ¡que tengan un buen día!
Yield: 5 servings.
Per serving (about 1/2 cup): 261 calories, 21.9g fat (3g sat), 16g carbs, 3g fiber, 2.2g protein.