This is what I do. These ideas of things to cook pop into my head and so I make them. My sofrito chicken was invented that way. I had some chicken, a bit of sofrito, charcoal and a warm summer day. I poured the sofrito into a bowl, mixed in some minced garlic and using a pastry brush, pushed it under the skin of the chicken pieces until it was well saturated.
The whole time it was grilling, I was praying it would taste good. I never dreamed that when I took it off the grate, the skin would be perfectly crispy and the meat so tender that I would call it succulent. It came out so good that I knew friends would be asking, “How did you make this?”
If you live on the West Coast or in the Southwest, it may be hard to find the fresh ingredients to make sofrito. I usually do not recommend buying processed foods, but in this case, the brand I found least harmful is Ducal Sofrito. It comes in a packet, and MSG is not listed amongst the ingredients the way it is on the leading bottled brand.
If you want to make this Puerto Rican (not so) secret sauce from scratch, here is one way:
West Coast Sofrito Ingredients:
3 chopped plum tomatoes
a whole bunch of cilantro
2 green bell peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 sweet onion
3 cloves of garlic
some ajies dulces peppers if you can find them but if not – don’t worry about it
some culantro or recao – which you also won’t be able to find on the West Coast unless you go to a Vietnamese market where it will be called Ngo Gai – don’t worry about it.
West Coast Sofrito Instructions:
1. Put all that stuff in the blender or food processor, add some salt and pepper if you like, and voila!
Use sofrito to flavor anything and everything, soups, stews, meats, omelets, and freeze what you don’t use right away, freeze it in small containers so you can take them out one by one to use.
Sofrito Chicken Ingredients:
1 package chicken breasts, thighs, legs
1/2 cup sofrito
1 tsp minced garlic.
Sofrito Chicken Instructions:
1. Start the grill and wait until the charcoals (if using charcoal) have turned white and are no longer flaming.
2. Pour the sofrito and minced garlic into a bowl and mix well.
3. Separate the skin from the chicken on one side of each piece and using a spoon or pastry brush, push as much sofrito under the skin as the piece will hold. Massage it around to ensure even coverage.
4. Place chicken pieces on the grill sofrito side down and grill until skin is darkened,15 minutes or so.
5. Turn the chicken pieces over and grill the other side for approximately 10 more minutes.
6. Serve hot off the grill to experience the utmost in crispiness.
Note: If you want to get a little more Caribbean style, brush some fresh squeezed orange/lime juice combination on the outer skin. Serve with your favorite grilled vegetables and even some grilled peaches, plums and pineapple for dessert.