Mirepoix is a French word for the combination of onions, celery or celeric, and carrots used as a basis for soup stocks, stews, sautéed meals and a wide variety of other foods. To cooks everywhere this is the basis for the flavor combination of all manner of meals. The word kept coming up here and there in food conversations and on cooking shows. An unfamiliar word is a gateway to new ideas. (Look it up!)
“In French cuisine, a Mirepoix (pronounced /mɪərˈpwɑː/ meer-PWAH, is a combination of onions, carrots, and celery (either common Pascal celery or celeriac). Mirepoix, either raw, roasted or sautéed with butter, is the flavor base for a wide number of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces. The three ingredients are commonly referred to as aromatics.
“…combinations, both in and out of the French culinary repertoire, may include leeks, parsnips, garlic, tomatoes, shallots, mushrooms, bell peppers, chilies, and ginger, according to the requirements of the regional cuisine or the instructions of the particular chef or recipe.”
That pretty much sums up the way to start out. Here are numbers for readers who appreciate detail – “Traditionally, the weight ratio for mirepoix is 2:1:1 of onions, celery, and carrots; the ratio for bones to mirepoix for stock is 10:1. When making a white stock, or fond blanc, parsnips are used instead of carrots to maintain the pale color.” (Hmm. Now I know when to use parsnips.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirepoix_(cuisine) Retrieved March 25, 2011.
Years ago, I started out cooking with the butter version of Mirepoix. (Known to me all these years as a soup base.) Having had to reform my wicked ways, I use olive oil from the Italian method and sometimes add garlic. I am working up to using more leeks and fennel. At times, when I am feeling really abstemious, the vegetables are softened in only water. (Mon Dieu!)
Chop, chop, chop and the celery, carrot and onion are ready. Tonight I added some tiny orange lentils with brown rice. Once it is cooked I’ll freeze it and use it for soups. Just add vegetables or meats to make a bowl of nourishment and keep off the chill. The above-recommended ingredients can be added, at will, to deepen the flavors. (I found the sweetest carrots at the Minneapolis Farmer’s market last weekend.)
More mirepoix to you.
Your comments are welcome.