The Trick To Making A True Sofrito, According To Omi Hopper - Exclusive

Do not underestimate the power of an exceptional sofrito. If you're not familiar with the mix or its sister mixes — in Italy, they say "soffritto;" in France, a "mirepoix;" in Portugal, a "refogado" — get cozy with it now. Without a good sofrito, you're in dire straights. Take Puerto Rican cooking for example. As Omi Hopper exclusively told Mashed, "that's going to be your cooking base for any stews, for any meats, for any rice and beans. It's always going to be the base .... it's incredible. It truly is a taste of Puerto Rican food."

Fittingly, the "Next Level Chef" contestant's sofrito recipe was also the social media chef's first viral TikTok video — and not because mastering the mix is something only meant for culinary Houdinis. When you hear Hopper describe it, getting sofrito right sounds simple. Essentially, Hopper told Mashed, it's a mix of "cilantro, culantro, garlic, onions, Puerto Rican sweet peppers — or aji dulce — and [green or red] bell peppers." The trick is in how you blend your ingredients together to achieve the correct texture.

When making sofrito, how you cut your veggies matters

When prepping a sofrito, don't make the mistake of blending your veggies into a uniform paste. As Omi Hopper told us, "You want to still be able to see the little chunks of these vegetables." What's Hopper's number one sofrito-making cooking hack? To ensure a "perfect outcome" for the "perfect sofrito," Hopper explained to Mashed that you should pay attention to the way you cut your vegetables "before throwing them into your food processor." 

Instead of tossing them in whole or dicing them, you'll want to quarter them. "The reason for that is ... obviously, to save space in the food processor, but also, it's what allows for the breakdown of the vegetables to not be so watery," Hopper explained. But — don't go too far in the opposite direction, either. "You also don't want [your sofrito] to be dry, so it has to be just right. Most people would probably think, 'Oh, I'll blend the onions all together, or I'll blend all the cilantro altogether,'" she told Mashed. "But [a sofrito] truly depends on how you blend all of the ingredients together in the food processor."