Many people associate Latin food with hot and spicy notes. But Dominican food is a whole other type of “spicy.” The flavors are robust and pack an incredible flavor punch sans the heat.
The essence of my familia’s cooking is based around a variation of sofrito, which is a combination of simple ingredients that takes Latin dishes well beyond ordinary. In its most popular form, sofrito consists of garlic, vegetables and spices or herbs that are sautéed in oil over medium heat, and then added as the base to a plethora of dishes.
My familia’s version is simply called sazón. Instead of cooking the ingredients, we process them down to a wet paste. The result is a marinade that, on its own, doesn’t look at all appealing. However when used to season meats, fish and stews, this seasoning creates the most delectable meals.
Although the ingredient list is long; don’t be intimidated. Putting it all together could not be easier. Simply chop all the vegetables and throw them in a food processor or blender. You will end up with way more sazón than you need for one use. Pour the remainder into an airtight container and keep it in your refrigerator for future use.
There are very few things that my mami cooks that aren’t anchored by this recipe. Braised oxtail, roast pork shoulder and arroz con pollo are some of my favorites. The seasoning takes on its own unique flavor with every type of food. It’s like a delicious Dominican miracle in your kitchen. Enjoy!
2 pounds red onions, chopped
6 Scotch bonnet chiles, seeded and chopped
3 cups garlic cloves
4 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons dried oregano
6 tablespoons vinegar
1 pound plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 red bell peppers, chopped
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small bunch scallions, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped