Brazilian Sofrito (Tempero Pronto)
A big batch of sofrito – a paste made of essential aromatics – makes cooking a breeze! Keep it in the fridge and sauté in your choice of oil whenever you need to add flavor to your homemade meals.
An easy homemade sofrito recipe!
Almost every Brazilian recipe starts with onion and garlic! Even our rice is sautéed with aromatics before simmering in water.
We call it “refogado” but I’m calling it sofrito to make it easier for non-Brazilian readers, as it is somewhat similar to Latin American sofrito. Feel free to call it whatever your heart desires!
Once you make your Tempero Pronto, just keep it in the fridge and use a few tablespoons at a time, whenever you’re cooking a savory dish.
The depth of flavor that comes from starting a recipe with an aromatic sofrito can’t be beat!
What is sofrito?
Sofrito is the base ingredient – consisting of a mixture of aromatics and vegetables – in lots of different cuisines.
It goes by different names in different countries – mirepoix in France, soffritto in Italy, refogado in Portugal and Brazil, and sofrito in most Latin American countries – but it serves the same purpose in all of them: to provide a foundation of amazing flavor that will take your recipe to the next level!
The ingredients will also vary depending on the cuisine. In Brazilian cuisine, our sofrito is simple and usually includes onion, garlic, some herbs (parsley and green onions in my version), salt, pepper and oil.
Instead of chopping ingredients every time you cook a dish, you can just make a big batch by processing everything together and keeping it in the fridge (or freezer) to be used as needed. That’s when the “refogado” turns into “tempero pronto”, which translates to “seasoning ready to go”.
In Brazil, even brands caught on the trend and started selling pre-made sofrito in the supermarkets. But, even if you have access to those, I highly recommend you make your own! Homemade is always so much better!
What’s the Fastest Way to Peel Garlic?
Whenever I’m cooking with garlic, I use the knife-smash method to peel my cloves. However, if the recipe calls for a whole head of garlic or more, it can be time consuming (and tedious) to peel them that way.
After trying a bunch of internet-popular tricks, I came to the conclusion that the shake method is the way to go when you need to peel a lot of garlic!
Here’s how I do it:
- Break the garlic bulb into single cloves.
- Transfer all the cloves into a large metal bowl, invert another metal bowl on top of the first one so the rims are pressed together, and vigorously shake for 15-30 seconds.
If you don’t have metal bowls, you can use glass bowls, a mason jar (depending on how many heads you need to peel) or even a pot with a lid. Just avoid plastic as you might impart a garlic scent/flavor to them that will be difficult to wash off.
- The paper should come off easily. Just pick the cloves out and dispose of the skin.
- If there are still some un-peeled cloves, just shake again until they are all peeled!
- Your garlic cloves are ready to be used!
Ingredients to make Tempero Pronto
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make Brazilian sofrito:
- Onion – You can use yellow or sweet onions.
- Oil – I use vegetable oil for its neutral flavor.
- Green Onions
Needless to say, sofrito is easily customizable. Onions and garlic must always be present (in the Brazilian version), but you can add other veggies, different herbs and/or other seasonings.
As you might know, I’m from São Paulo and the cuisine in this part of Brazil is quite mild. The Tempero Pronto from the Northeast of the country – known as Tempero Baiano – is quite different and the recipe often asks for spicy flavors, like cayenne, as well as lots of cumin and cilantro. But that will be the subject of a future post!
How to Make Brazilian Sofrito
Making sofrito is very easy! You will need a knife and cutting board to chop everything into smaller pieces and a food processor to transform the chopped ingredients into a paste-like mixture.
Here are the steps:
- Start by cutting all the ingredients into large chunks, to make the food processor’s life easier!
- Add everything to the jar of a food processor and pulse until you reach the desired consistency. You can keep it coarse or puree it completely.
- Transfer to a glass container with a lid and refrigerate.
How long will sofrito keep in the fridge?
Tempero Pronto keeps well in the fridge for up to one month! Why so long? The oil and salt help preserve it for longer!
Can I freeze Tempero Pronto?
Yes! You can freeze Brazilian sofrito for up to a year.
I like to pour it into an ice tray, freeze until solid and then transfer to a freezer bag. That way I can grab just the amount I need to use for the recipe I’m making.
No need to thaw before using! Just make sure to sauté a little longer so all the extra water can evaporate.
What can I make with sofrito?
Pretty much every savory recipe. Think soups, stews, chili and every dish that could benefit from a flavorful base! It can also be used as a marinade for chicken and beef.
- 4 large yellow onions, cut into chunks
- 2 heads garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped into smaller chunks
- 1 bunch green onions, roughly chopped into smaller chunks
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper (freshly crushed)
- Combine all the ingredients in the food processor. Pulse until the desired consistency - coarse to completely pureed.
- Transfer the sofrito to a large mason jar or airtight container. Refrigerate for up to one month and use as needed.
TO QUICKLY PEEL THE GARLIC, transfer all the cloves into a large metal bowl, invert another metal bowl on top of the first one so the rims are pressed together, and vigorously shake for 15-30 seconds or until all the garlic cloves are peeled.
FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS - Pour into an ice tray, freeze until solid and then transfer to a freezer bag. No need to thaw before using! Just make sure to sauté a little longer so all the extra water can evaporate.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 40 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 32Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 159mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g
Nutritional values are approximate, please use your own calculations if you require a special diet.