Batch Cooking

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Every now and again I like to get ahead on cooking, and I will make a few different sauces to freeze.  What is great about that is that I can get week night dinners on the table even faster with some great bases.

Some sauces I make early are basil pesto, bolognese sauce, tomato sauce, sofrito, and picada. Most of these you are probably familiar with, and all of them will keep in the freezer for 6 months.

Now that school is back in session, this is a great way to get a leg up on the new crazy schedule that all families are experiencing.

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Picada is a saffron and parsley based Spanish sauce used to flavor dishes. It is often added as a base for dishes or added toward the end for a last minute flavor punch.

For 2 1/2 cups of picada:

  • 5 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup blanched hazelnuts

Toast your hazelnuts in a pan on medium high heat for 3 minutes until slightly browned.

Make a small foil packet and put the saffron inside, in the same pan you toasted the nuts in, toast the saffron for a few seconds and then let it cool.

In a bowl put your garlic, parsley, saffron, and olive oil and use a hand blender to make a coarse paste.

Add the hazelnuts and continue to blend until it is a smooth mixture.

Put in baggies about 3 tbsp per bag and label with the date before putting in the freezer.

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Sofrito is another Spanish sauce that also serves as a base for tons of dishes.  It is tomato, garlic, and onion based, and it’s a concentrated paste of flavor.

For 2 1/2 cups of sofrito:

  • 8 1/2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 1/2 cups of finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 8oz can tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Using a zester or garlic press, turn your garlic cloves into a paste.

Put your chopped onion in a blender and blend until a smooth paste.

Put a saucepan over medium heat and heat your olive oil. Add the garlic paste and fry until browned.

Add the onion paste, lower the heat, and add the herbs.  Stir frequently until the onion has browned.

Add all but a small amount of the tomato puree to the pan and cook for 30 minutes.

Add the remaining tomato puree and cook for 30 more minutes and season with salt and pepper.

Put in baggies about 2 tbsp per bag and label them with the date before freezing.

Sofrito is a great base for rice, stews, beans, chicken, potatoes and other dishes and picada is delicious on beef, chicken, chorizo, potatoes and more. They are packed with flavor and a great way to get a quick, delicious meal on the table.

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