AJI DULCE ( Fresh Pods) aji citoo, aji gustoso,ají cachucha

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Ají dulce, ají cachucha, ajicito, or 'ají gustoso" make fresh , PUERTO RICAN SOFRITO

A must for those Caribbean Style black beans, homemade or canned. Just add a couple of CACHUCHA or aji peppers and the flavor soars. Aji Cachucha is a small mild, sweet-tasting pepper used in many traditional Caribbean dishes. It is also sometimes known as Aji Dulce. The pods ripen from a light pale green to a red/orange. Don't confuse this pepper with the habanero, which looks very similar and is related, as although it has the Habanero flavour,but not the heat.

Sweet, smoky seasoning pepper especially popular in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. This is a mild habanero without the heat. Ají is an important ingredient in Puerto Rican sofrito (sauce), but is also eaten in salsas, salads, and roasted. For a sharper flavor, use the green fruits, and for softer flavors, use them when ripened red.

Freeze left over peppers for later use.

PUERTO RICAN SOFRITO

Puerto Rican sofrito is easy to make at home! Vegetables and herbs are blended together to form the base for many Puerto Rican dishes. This is why Puerto Rican cuisine is so flavorful!

This Puerto Rican version of sofrito—there are many different geographical variations—is a fresh mixture of onions, cubanelle peppers, garlic, cilantro, ajices dulces, cilantro, culantro, tomatoes, and red pepper quickly chopped into a fine paste in a food processor. What you're left with is enough sofrito to add some serious flavor to weeks of meals.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Spanish onions, cut into large chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cubanelle peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into large chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 18 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 ajices dulces 
  • 4 leaves of culantro
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Kosher salt (optional)
  • Directions

    1. 1.

      Place onions and cubanelle peppers in workbowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

    2. 2.

      With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients one at a time through the feed tube and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to container and store in refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze.

 

 Puerto Rican Rice and Beans

This is the foundation for many recipes like the popular Puerto Rican habichuelas, mom’s famous Puerto Rican rice, ground beef picadillo (which is used as an empanada filling) and many more.

I like to think of it as a Puerto-Rican style pesto. Except I wouldn’t eat this raw! It’s always cooked.

So I guess it is more similar to the French mirepoix, which consists of onions, carrots and celery, or the Cajun “holy trinity” of onions, celery and bell pepper.

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