Skip to content

Cooking & Culture: Sofrito

December 20, 2017

Food | Cooking and Culture

Chef Alejandra & José prepare Puerto Rican favorite Sofrito

From the African roots of Southern soul food to the eating habits of trendsetting millennials, Hormel Foods is covering the dishes and stories behind food heritage through an online video series called Cooking and Culture.

Nuestra Gente cooking & Culture

Alejandra Ramos, private chef, recipe developer and food blogger at, and José Rosario, internal auditor at Jennie-O Turkey Store, joined us for this chapter of Cooking & Culture.

Recipes From Chef Alejandra

Puerto Rican Sofrito

  • Hands-On Time

    10 minutes
  • Total Time

    10 minutes
  • Serves

    4 cups
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed & trimmed
  • 1 bunch parsley, washed & trimmed
  • 4 culantro leaves
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin


Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Chef’s note: This condiment made of pureed herbs and aromatics is a staple in many Puerto Rican recipes. Puerto Rican cooks regularly make it in large batches, then freeze in small portions to use throughout the month. This makes more than you’ll need for the rice dish, but will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator, or up to 6 months in the freezer. Use to make other Puerto Rican recipes, or experiment with using it as a base for your favorite soups, as a marinade with chicken or shrimp, or to add flavor to sautéed vegetables and stir-fries. A tablespoon or so thinned with olive oil and vinegar makes for an easy and flavorful salad dressing!

No matter where you are, with the right ingredients you can bring the flavors and smells of home with you.

Chef Alejandra Ramos

Arroz Con Gandules

  • Hands-On Time

    15 minutes
  • Total Time

    45 minutes
  • Serves

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground annatto*
  • 1/3 pound HORMEL® CURE 81® Ham, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sofrito
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pigeon peas (not drained)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup pimento-stuffed Spanish olives, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon capers


In large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add oil, annatto, ham, pepper, and sofrito, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add cumin and next 4 ingredients, stirring well to coat. Cook 1 minute.

Add pigeon peas with liquid, 1 ½ cups water, salt, tomato sauce, olives, and capers, and stir again to combine. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered 5 minutes or until most of liquid has evaporated.

Stir again, cover, and lower heat to low. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, remove from heat and let sit, covered 5 more minutes. Fluff rice with fork before serving.

*Annatto can be found in the spice section at Latin grocery stores and can also be purchased online.