Recaíto (also sometimes called sofrito) is Puerto Rican green cooking base mix which does not include the use of tomatoes which are sometimes added just as an extra flavor.
Ham, salted pork, and/or tocino (bacon) is first browned in a pot with oil, lard, olive oil or annatto oil. Recaíto is then added and is cooked until most of its liquid has evaporated. When done tomato sauce (as a thickener or bonding agent) is added with a mix of stuffed olives and capers called alcaparrado, spices and dry herbs. Legumes and other meats are then added to the pot and slowly cooked. Recaíto is usually a base for stews, soups and picadillo in most Puerto Rican homes.
Recaíto, originally refers to a message or an order made. When most people did not have refrigeration, they had to buy an onion, cilantro leaves, and peppers to mash in a pilon. Usually a housewife will leave an order for it and someone will pick it up later. It is said that this is where the word recado originated from. In time the name changed to recaíto, which roughly translates to English as "little culantro."
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