I repeat, the vegetables and herbs in Kenya have a fabulous aroma. A sofrito made with the local ingredients is absolutely fantastic. I normally make it in large quantity, I freeze or keep the excess in the refrigerator for future use.
All the sofrito communities have their own recipes. Sofrito recipes change from restaurant to restaurant, from house to house and family to family. So here is my sofrito.
I will make the chicken dish in 3 stages: the sofrito, the chicken marinade and assembling the dish for cooking.
Sofrito – the first stage
- 1 green capsicum
- 1 red capsicum
- 2 Italian sweet pepper – They are long green looking pepper
- 1 large bunch of cilantro – 1 ½ cup – leaves and stems
- 1 tbsp. of capers
- 5 olives stuffed with pimiento.
- 1 tbsp. of dry oregano – Oregano is among the favorite herb of Latin cooking
- 10 garlic cloves
- 2 regular red onions
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 3 tbsps. oil
Method – you have 2 methods
- Finely mince all the ingredients, add salt to taste then the oil or
- Put all the ingredients in a food process and pulse to a thick paste.
Marinade – the second stage
- 4 chicken legs with thighs and drum separated or 1 1.2 kg chicken cut in eight pieces. Keep the chicken back for other use.
- 1 tbsp. of vinegar or lime juice
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp. of oregano
- 1 tsp. of cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp of oil
- In a bowl add the chicken and all other ingredients. Mix and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Cooking the dish – the third and last stage
- 1 cup of sofrito
- 1 cup of tomato sauce – tomato sauce and not tomato paste
- 1 bay leave
- 5 large carrots cut in large slices
- ¾ cup of water
- 5 green olives stuffed with pimiento. Almost all supermarkets in Nairobi have green olives stuffed with pimiento.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Coat the bottom of a pot with a film of oil, and brown the chicken on all sides
- Remove the chicken from the pot
- Add the sofrito and cook under medium-low heat for 4 minutes in order to blend the flavors
- Return the chicken to the pot with the sofrito
- Add all the other ingredients – Water should barely cover all the ingredients
- Simmer covered for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and further simmer for 25 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
This dish is best served with white rice.
Tips – No need to have a high heat under any type of stew. A gentle simmer is all what is needed. Sofrito can be used to make rice.