Avichay Eisenger took us to a small restaurant in the Ben Yehuda market in Jerusalem that
specialises in slow cooked food. I had Sofrito and it was wow. I've been trying to master it
Sofrito was originally a Spanish style of cooking which passed into Sephardic Jewish cuisine. It involves long slow cooking with little oil and water. Effectively it is a combination of roasting and stewing. The result is a very tender. Serve with rice - consider Egyptian Rice - and salad.
This is my version based on Ansky (2000), Ben David (2007) and Roden (1986).
2 - 3 tablespoons of oil
- Heat in a large heavy pot
2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Sauté until starting to become transparent
1.5 - 3 kg shoulder or leg of lamb (or shank of beef, joint of veal, leg or loin of veal, or chicken) cut into large pieces (approx 3 cm) or whole
- Brown the meat on all sides (in batches if necessary)
1/3 cup boiling water
- Add to the pot, pouring onto the sides of the pot
- Cover tightly
- Bring back to the boil.
- Reduce to low heat
1 tablespoon Baharat or Bahar spice mixture
If you don't have Baharat spice mixture try a combination of:
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger, cumin, and/or coriander
(Optional) 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Galit doesn't like cinnamon in this dish which is why I added the allspice to mixture)
(Optional) Pinch of ground cardamom
(Optional) Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Sprinkle the spices and lemon juice (if used) over the meat
- Cook for 2 hours
- Shake the pot occasionally (don't stir the meat)
Up to 1/3 cup boiling water
- Add extra boiling water if the pot gets dry. Add a tablespoon at a time, with at most 2/3 cups in total. Pour water onto the side of the pot rather than directly onto the meat. Then shake the pot.
4-8 medium potatoes (up to 900 grams) cut into cubes (about 2.5 cm) and deep fried until golden
(Optional) 2 large onions, cubed
(Optional) 500 g tomatoes, sliced
- Add to meat
- Adjust seasonings
- Cook for another hour on low heat
Sandy was married to an Israeli of Egyptian origin and learnt how to cook Sofrito from his family. Serve with Egyptian Rice.
Shrir (i.e. muscle with fat, probably cut 7 in Israel )
- cut into eight slices
1/2 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice (called Black English Pepper in Israel)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
- pour over meat
- mix well
- Cook on hob on very low heat
- After 30 min just cover the meat with boiling water
- boil on high for 30 min
- lower heat to smallest for 2.5 hours
Ansky, S. (2000). The Food of Israel: Authentic Recipes from the Land of Milk and Honey. Periplus Editions.
Ben David, A. (2007). Sofrito Spanish-Jerusalem. The Treasure: Al Hashulchan's Best Recipes (p. 137). Israel: Al Hashulchan.
Roden, C. (1986). A New Book of Middle Eastern Food. Penguin.