Sunday, December 27, 2009

Puerto Rican Sofrito

Here's a recipe you can start with. . . .

1 bunch Cilantro
1 bunch recao
1 head of garlic
3 large onions
1 lb. ajíes dulces
2 cubanese peppers or 2 large bell peppers
½ cup olives with pimientos
1 sm jar roasted red peppers
1 tbsp. cappers
2 tbsp. crushed oregano
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cheyenne pepper (optional)
1 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Prepare the ingredients - peel, wash, seed and coarsely chop, what needs to be and just dump it all in the blender or food processor, in batches. Dump in a bowl and mix well. Freeze in ice-cube trays, then dump in a double freezer bag. That's all!

* Note that thyme, rosemary, celery and tomato or tomato sauce are not a traditional ingredient in sofrito. Tomatoes might be called for in a recipe but are a separate ingredient. I always have canned Italian Style tomatoes to use in rice and beans.

You might not find all the ingredients, just use what you have, onions, garlic, and bell pepper are a must. Even though this recipe includes olives and capers I always add whole olives and capers to the dish.


Arroz Con Gandules

2 cups short grain rice (rinsed) - long grain will work too
4-5 cups of hot water - appx.
½ cup ready made sofrito
16 ounce can of gandules (cooked green pigeon peas)
2 tablespoons of alcaparrado (cappers and olives mixed together)
1 packet of Sazon with achiote
1 can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons of oil
Salt & pepper to taste

In a medium size caldero add the oil, tomato sauce, alcaparrado, sofrito and sazon. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add all other ingredients, and enough water to cover the rice 1" above the rice line. Start with 1 teaspoon of salt stir and keep adding and mixing well until you are satisfied with the taste. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until most of the water is absorbed. Once the water has been absorbed, stir gently from bottom to top - once or twice only, cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Stirring the rice after it has begun cooking may cause it go get sticky or "amogollao."

Any rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot is called "pegao" and is crispy and tasty and a favorite of all true Puerto Ricans. However, not everyone is skilled is making pegao - it is an art. To make great pegao make sure to use plenty of oil. Cook for about 10 minutes longer so the pegao gets crispy and keep your eye on it. Each time you cook rice - check to see how long it takes to make pegao just the way your family likes it. Finally - if you want a lot of pegao - use a bigger caldero which, of course, will have a larger bottom surface.

Arroz Con Dulce

Arroz Con Dulce (Arroz con Coco)
(Serves 12)

1½ cups rice

4¼ cups coconut milk
1½ teaspoons salt
3 cinnamon sticks
2 ounces ginger
6 whole cloves
Pinch of nutmeg-optional

1½ cups sugar
½ cup raisins

3/4 cup coconut milk (reserve to use at the end)

1. Wash rice and soak in water to cover, generously, for 2 hours. The rice will soak up the water so use plenty.
2. About twenty minutes before rice is finished soaking combine the 4½ cups of coconut milk, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg in a medium size caldero.
3. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to moderate, cover and boil for 15 minutes.
4. Drain rice thoroughly and add to caldero. Mix and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and cook unitl rice is completely dry, without stirring.
5. Add the sugar and raisins, stir, and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 15 minutes, without stirring.
6. Add reserved 3/4 cup coconut milk and stir. Turn heat to moderate and boil for about 30 minutes, or until rice dries again. In this cooking period, turn rice over occasionally and scrape bottom of caldero.
7. Remove spices. Spoon rice into a flat serving platter. Allow to cool at room temperature.
8. This is served cold.


He was so happy to see so many toys


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