This recipe is a special one to me, and I hope I do it justice describing it’s many layers and complexity of goodness. This is a recipe that holds a special place in my heart and life. It was after all, my mom who taught it to me and it was she that nurtured my culinary interest and curiosity from a very early age. Okay! I digress. Sofrito, in short, is a melange of several savory vegetables (aromatics) and herbs, in combination that are pureed in either a food processor or blender or cut or chopped on a cutting board like I do or make mine most times, and used in most savory Puerto Rican dishes (from my childhood). I must also add, that this staple of Puerto Rican cooking, is by no means exclusive to Puerto Rican cuisine. The Island of Cuba and Dominican Republic, also lay claim to their own versions of this most amazing condiment of aromatics that also act as a base or foundation for savory cooking. Even Mexico in the Yucatan is said to have its own version. No meal is cooked without it in the Puerto Rican tradition.
Side note: Louisiana’s New Orleans or N’orleans as the locals call their beloved city (Cajon country), also has its own version of sofrito they call the “holy trininty”. It consist of bell peppers, onions and celery.
“The “Libre de Sent Soví” (circa 1324) is one of the oldest cookbooks in Europe. It had a great influence on French and Italian cuisines. It is common to find similar sofrito techniques in France (mirepoix), Italy (soffritto or battuto), Portugal (refogado) or other Mediterranean countries. The Spanish also took the technique to their colonies throughout Latin America, where it is still called sofrito, and to the Phillipines where it is called ginisá. -Hector Rodriguez about.com
A trito is the same as a battuto but doesn’t contain pork. It’s very finely chopped vegetables, usually including some combination of onions, celery, garlic, carrot, and parsley. Other cuisines use this same technique: refogado in Portuguese, sofrito in Spanish, sofregit in Catalan, mirepoix in French, and “holy trinity” in Creole cooking.