Think of this as the Latin American answer to Louisiana's Holy Trinity of celery, onion, and bell pepper. It's an essential cooking base for classic dishes like rope vieja (braised beef) or arroz con pollo (chicken and rice). Goya's sofrito is a mix of tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, and garlic, deeply caramelized in olive oil and pureed. Use a heaping spoonful to jump-start a soup or braise, or stir into sauce for enchiladas. Sold at most supermarkets.

If you'd like to make a homemade version, try our Sofrito recipe from our April 2001 issue.