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Caribbean-Style Sofrito

2 green bell peppers, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
10 tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 1/2 bunches fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
6 fresh tomatillos, husks removed
1 cup chopped garlic


Place the green, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers in a blender or bowl of a food processor. Add the tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, tomatillos, and garlic. Blend or pulse according to your preference to make a chunky or smooth mixture. Refrigerate in a covered container up to 5 days, or freeze up to 45 days.

Cook’s Tip
Freeze the sofrito in resealable plastic bags and use as needed, or spoon into ice cube trays to freeze in portions.

Yield 12 cups

Caribbean Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
6 green onions sliced thinly
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (wear gloves)
3 teaspoons dreid thyme
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmet
1 teaspoon brown sugar

6 boneless, skinless,chicken breasts, cut in pieces
1 red onion scut in 1/2s and then pulled apart
1 green zucchini sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 yellow squash sliced 1/4 inch thick
red grape tomatoes

Place the first nine ingredients in a blender, cover and process until smooth. Pour 1/2 cup into a smal bowl for basting. Cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add cut up chicken and veggies, seal bag and turn to coat, refrigerate up to 6 hours or overnight. Let bag come to room temperature before you grill. Drain and discard marinade. Skewer chicken and vegetables alternating. Coat grill rack with non stick spray. Grill kabobs, covered over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear, basting frequently with reserved marinade. I like to serve this with a just a salad or brown rice. The calories are incorrect as I forgot to include this is 6 servings and not one which comes out to 189 calories, however, I’ve tried editing this recipe and it won’t save it.

Number of Servings: 6

Caribbean: Puerto Rican Asopao

4 tablespoons sofrito
1 tablespoon vinegar
a 3- to 4-pound chicken, washed, rinsed in lemon juice, dried, and cut up
3 tablespoons olive oil achiote
½ cup white wine
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup rice
7 cups water
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon Spanish olives, chopped
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt

Add 1 tablespoon of the sofrito with the vinegar to the adobo mixture in a bowl and blend well. Rub the mixture over the chicken pieces. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil achiote. Add remaining 3 tablespoons sofrito. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add chicken. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to ensure that all the pieces of chicken are seasoned. Continue cooking a few minutes more until the chicken is opaque.

Add the white wine and tomato sauce and stir well, then add the rice, water, capers, olives, bay leaves, oregano, and salt. Return the mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, 20 to 25 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.


1 onion, peeled
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded
3 sweet chili peppers, seeded
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
4 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano

Whir all ingredients for the sofrito in a blender until chopped. Store in the refrigerator in a tight-lidded container.


4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon paprika

Grind all the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle to make a paste.


1 cup cooking oil
2 tablespoons annatto seeds

In a cast-iron or heavy skillet, heat ½ cup olive or vegetable oil. When very hot, add annatto seeds. Turn heat to low, continue cooking, stirring frequently, for approximately 5 minutes, until oil is a rich orange-red color. Allow to cool, then strain into a clean glass container. Set aside.

Add 2 cups (½ pound) walnut or pecan pieces to the batter.

Servings: 6 to 8

Caribbean: Mangú

4 unripe plantains
4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of oil
2 large onions
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 cup of cold water
Before Starting to Cook:
Peel the plantains and cut into 8 pieces.

Boil the plantains adding 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. When the plantains are very tender turn off the heat.

While the plantains are boiling, heat a tablespoon of oil in a shallow pan. Sautee the onions, add the salt and the vinegar. Reserve.

Take the plantains out of the water and mash them with a fork. Add the butter and the cold water and keep mashing until it is very smooth. Garnish with the onions and serve with scrambled eggs or deep-fried slices of salami.

Yield: 4 servings

Caribbean: Smoked Tuna-Pastrami with Mango Chow and Creole Mustard Sauce

2 pounds 2 ounces fresh tuna loin
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
handful each mesquite and hickory chips
Mango Chow:

4 medium-sized half-ripe mangoes, peeled and cut in a fine julienne
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Madam Jeanet pepper, seeded, and finely diced or shredded
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Mustard Sauce:

1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon French’s mustard
½ teaspoon salt pinch freshly ground white pepper
½ tablespoon Roland white wine vinegar
juice of ¼ lemon
1/3 cup vegetable oil
5½ ounces French’s creole mustard
1 teaspoon Conimex ketjap mains
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
pinch freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup heavy cream

2 limes, each cut into 6 equal wedges
6 lime leaves
1 small red onion, cut into thin rings
6 small chili peppers
Season tuna with garlic powder and salt. Thoroughly coat outside of tuna with freshly ground pepper coating it with a “film” of pepper. Place tuna on rack on tightly-closed smoker set at cold smoke and smoke for 1-1½ hours depending on thickness of fish; should be medium-pink and just warm.
(Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully for smoking procedure; all smokers are not the same.)

While tuna is smoking, mix together mango, garlic, Madam Jeanet, salt and cilantro in bowl. Cover and allow to rest in a cool place to develop flavor.

All ingredients for sauce must be at room temperature. In bowl, mix egg yolk with mustard. Add salt, freshly ground pepper, vinegar and lemon juice. Add oil, drop by drop, whisking until sauce is creamy and all the oil is absorbed. Blend in creole mustard, ketjap manis, garlic, and freshly ground pepper until all ingredients are completely mixed in. Add cream, blending until sauce is smooth.

Slice tuna carefully and arrange in slices in a fan pattern on individual plates. Place mango chow in center of plate and creole sauce on the side.


Yield: 6 servings

Caribbean: Oxtail and Lima Bean Stew

3½ pounds / 1.75 kg oxtail, cut at the joint by your butcher
2 large onions, chopped (about 3 cups / 750 mL)
6 cloves garlic, chopped (about 3 tablespoons / 45 mL)
2 tablespoons / 25 mL soy sauce
1 teaspoon / 5 mL salt
1 large tomato, diced (about 2 cups / 500 mL)
1 (16-ounce / 454-g) can lima beans, drained and rinsed
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon / 5 mL dried thyme)
2 tablespoons / 25 mL butter
1 teaspoon / 5 mL black pepper

Wash the oxtail in cold water. In a stockpot, combine the oxtail, half of the onions, the garlic, soy sauce, and salt. Add enough water to come halfway up the oxtail. Bring to a rolling boil, occasionally skimming the scum as it forms, usually in the first 10 minutes of boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer until the oxtail is tender, about 1½ hours.

Once the oxtail is tender, there should be about 2 cups / 500 mL of liquid in the stockpot. If the liquid level is low, add enough to make 2 cups / 500 mL. Add the remaining onion, tomato, lima beans, thyme, butter, and black pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the lima beans are hot but not mushy. Remove the thyme sprigs before serving.

Serve hot with white rice and boiled green bananas.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Caribbean: Linguine with Smoked Salmon

1 Ib linguine
12 oz smoked salmon cut into strips
½ cup tomato concasse
½ cup snipped chives
4 oz grated parmesan cheese
Garlic Cream Sauce:

1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
3 oz hard garlic butter
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cook the linguine in lots of salted, boiling water for 8-10 minutes and drain.

For the Sauce: Bring the white wine to a boil and reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and reduce a further five minutes. Add the cream and stir in the garlic butter. Season with salt and pepper and reduce to a syrupy consistency.

Add the linguine and toss in the smoked salmon. Place the pasta in 4 bowls and sprinkle with parmesan, parsley, chives and tomato concasse.

Chef’s Note… There is no substitute for fresh parmesan.

Caribbean: Polenta, Beans and Coconut

1 tablespoon oil
¼ cup ground spices
2 (15½-ounce) cans red kidney beans
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1(13½-ounce) can coconut milk
4 cloves
1 cup coarse cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
Heat oil. Add ground spices and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat. Fry the beans and add seasoned salt for 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and cloves and let boil for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add cornmeal and salt. Lower heat and cover. Let cook for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Tastier Way:

1 cup dried red kidney beans
1 coconut
2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
¼ green bell pepper, minced
2 parsley sprigs, destemmed and minced
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves
1 cup coarse cornmeal
Boil kidney beans in 6 cups water, uncovered, on medium heat for 1½ hours or until beans are fork tender. Strain beans and keep liquid.

Crack the coconut open. Dislodge coconut from the shell and grate it. Boil grated coconut in 4 cups water, uncovered, on medium-low heat for ½ hour. Strain coconut and set water aside.

In a saucepan, heat oil. Fry the cooked beans with the onion, garlic, green pepper, and parsley for 5 minutes. Add coconut water and bean water (total 4 cups), salt, black pepper and cloves. Bring to a boil and add cornmeal. Cover and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. You want liquid to evaporate but you do not want cornmeal to stick to the pot.

Servings: 4 to 6

Caribbean: Eggplants with Small Crabs

6 small crabs
1 lime, cut in half
3 eggplants
¼ cup oil
1 onion, sliced thin
3 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 tablespoon ground spices (optional)
¼ green bell pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon pikliz vinegar
1 green Scotch bonnet pepper (optional)

Purchase crabs that have been already cleaned from a reputable fish market. Wash crabs with cold water. Clean them by rubbing them with the lime halves and rinsing in cold water again.
Peel the eggplants and cut them in 1-inch chunks. Boil eggplants for 20 minutes. Discard the water and mash.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Fry the onion, garlic, ground spices, bell pepper and tomato paste for 5 minutes. Add crab, mashed eggplant, salt, black pepper, pikliz vinegar and Scotch bonnet pepper. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes on low heat. Taste for salt and add more if necessary. Carefully remove the hot pepper before serving.

Servings: 6 to 8

Caribbean: Coo-Coo – Fungi

15 okras soaked in 4 cups water
1 lb cornmeal
6 cups water
1 tsp salt or to taste
3 Tbs margarine
1 onion chopped
5 cloves garlic minced

Wash the okras and cut off the heads and tails. Cut into cartwheels and place in a pot with 2 cups water and all the other ingredients except the cornmeal. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, place the cornmeal in a bowl and pour over 4 cups water to saturate the meal. Stir to make sure it is wet throughout.
After the 15 minutes pour out about three quarters of the okras and the cooking liquid and set aside.
Return the pot to a very low heat and pour in the wet cornmeal. Stir constantly to break up any lumps. Add the reserved okras and liquid a little at a time … stirring to make sure the mixture is smooth. A coo-coo stick is normally used for this purpose – it resembles a small cricket bat. However, a wooden spoon also does the job quite well.
Continue to stir and cook on very low heat for about 10 minutes. When finished the Coo-Coo should be smooth and stiff. Transfer to a buttered dish.

Yield: 4 servings