Taco night: Carrot sofrito

Carrot sofritto #vegan #TexMex #recipe

When the world is in turmoil, it’s good to go back to the comfort basics and, for a lot of Australian families, taco night has become something of an institution. Australia has a tiny Mexican population but we still love our taco nights, even if our version of tacos is less than authentic, simply because a lot of the ingredients just aren’t readily available.  If I’m making soft serve tacos, I always use chapatis because it’s impossible to get good ready-made corn tortillas in Australia and I haven’t quite been able to commit to sourcing masa harina and making my own.

This carrot sofrito comes from the Texas-born LA chef Josef Centano, and is based on his great grandmother’s recipe. It’s an excellent old time exercise in frugality to feed a lot of people on little money. Centano uses this carrot sofrito to make no bake vegetarian enchiladas, but because  I never make enchiladas (due to the poor quality corn tortillas down under), I use it as an extra fixing for tacos with refried beans. It is  extraordinarily good though, and you don’t just make it for taco nights. It makes a great sandwich spread or  dip for corn chips, but you will find it difficult not to just eat it on its own straight out of the pan.

I still haven’t recovered from the American election and although last week I wrote I was rapidly moving through the stages of grief to anger, I was really just fooling myself and I’m still, like most of the world, in the shock and denial stage. I have been reading an enormous amount of political analysis to try and make sense of  inevitable Trump presidency. If you are likewise suffering from Trump PTSD, I highly recommend reading The New Yorker magazine for  David Remnick’s profile on Obama, as well as Hilary Mantel’s haunting and poetic essay on Trump’s America. The New Yorker magazine has been the absolute standout throughout the primaries and campaign for thoughtful, nuanced long form journalism.

If you’ve been appalled at the sight of world leaders (with the notable exception of Angela Merkel) falling over themselves to obsequiously toady to President-elect Trump, then this impassioned speech by Irish Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is music to the ears. I could listen to his Irish lilt speaking truth to power all day.

For those of you on Twitter keen to maintain constant vigilance, as Mad-Eye Moody would say, highly recommended Twitter feeds are Joy Reid from MSNBC @JoyAnnReid, Newsweek‘s Kurt Eichenwald @kurteichenwald and Slate‘s Jamie Bouie @jbouie For some high octane passion with your facts Propane Jane from Texas is unbeatable @dorocktex26

Carrot sofrito

Adapted from Josef Centano Food and Wine

  • 600 grams (1/4 pounds) carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 250 grams (1/2 pound) of fresh tomatoes, or 1 x 400 grams can of tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt.
  1. Preheat oven to 110°C (225°F), then in a food processor, pulse carrots, onion and garlic until finely chopped and scrape into a medium size bowl.
  2. Add tomatoes to processor bowl and pulse until almost smooth.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep oven proof skillet, then add carrot mixture and a generous pinch of salt. Saute over medium heat for about 5–7 minutes until softened slightly and nearly dry. Add pureed tomato and cook stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 5 minutes).
  4. Stir in remaining six tablespoons of olive oil and transfer to oven to bake for one and a half hours until the sofrito is very soft. Alternatively, if you don’t want to bake in the oven, you can just turn the heat to very low and stir occasionally for one and half hours until the sofrito is tender and meltingly soft.
  5. You can keep the sofrito warm, and covered over a low heat before serving, but I find it is just as good served at room temperature.


  1. This looks great. Massively jealous of that pan too!

  2. Ooh, looks great! I will have to give it a go one taco night. I like the corn tortillas from la tortilleria which is an Australian brand. I have seen them at many health food shops, and the only ingredients listed are corn and salt. Worth a try! – http://latortilleria.com.au/

  3. I’ll give them a try if I come across them- I haven’t seen them round my way.

  4. Trying this now. Smells amazing

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