Puerto Rican-Style Sofrito Condiment and Seasoning


At Project Angel Heart, we use this sofrito not only on top of roast pork or baked fish, but also in stews. Its wonderfully earthy flavor and fragrant aroma come primarily fromthe annatto-infused oil the mixture is simmered in. Use sofrito on or in anything that can use a boldly flavored, Caribbean-style kick!By Jon Emanuel, executive chef


  • ¼ C pure olive oil
  • 1 tsp of annatto seeds (also called achiote seeds, available at Latin markets), rinsed and dried
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • ¼ C chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 large red bell peppers, diced
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 2 tsp mild ground chile powder, like guajillo (available in Latin markets)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil on high heat. Then reduce the heat, add the achiote and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Return the oil to the pan and discard the seeds.

Add the saffron to the stock and set aside.

In a blender or food processor, blend the peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro and oregano. Add the puree to the pan and heat over medium high heat until it boils. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the saffron/stock, paprika and cumin and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. At this point, the sofrito may be used immediately, chilled or frozen in an ice cube tray to add to dishes as you wish. Enjoy!

Yield: About 2 cups