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Leave it to the French to take three basic kitchen staples and make them seem way more glamorous, not to mention complicated, than they really are. Such is the case of the mirepoix. Chances are you’ve made a mirepoix a dozen times, but perhaps you just didn’t realize how glamorous and chic you were as you chopped and diced the three humble ingredients. If you’ve ever chopped onions, celery, and carrots, added them to the same pot, then voilà mes chers amis you have made a mirepoix. Bravo!
Dating from the 18th century in France, the culinary term mirepoix refers to a combination of chopped onions, carrots and celery, generally in a ratio of 2:1:1. Traditionally sautéed in butter, the mirepoix is the aromatic base responsible for boosting flavor in stocks, sauces, soups and countless other foods. Fancy chefs are required to have a repertoire of mirepoix variations depending on the type of dish being prepared, the texture and even color of the stock base. But, we are not fancy chefs now are we? Although now might be a good time to mention that Littlest does call me ‘cheffy.’ Which really sounds more like Chevy, so I’m not all that enamored with the term of affection she’s bestowed upon me.
Here’s a little something I learned at the retreat on Food, Feasting and Fasting at Laity Lodge. A trick that will make you feel like a fancy French chef.
Voilà une Mirepoix Purée.
1 onion, large
1 carrot, peeled
1 celery stalk, ends trimmed
Place all three ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
How easy is that? Now, I can hear you asking, “but what do we do with the mirepoix purée?” As we mentioned, you probably use onions, carrots, and celery in a variety of soups and sauces already. Try the mirepoix purée in lieu of your normal sauté of these aromatic veggies. I used a mirepoix purée as a base for wild rice a week or so ago and it was delicious. I simply sautéed the mirepoix in a tiny bit of butter, stirred in the wild rice and let everything get all cozy before I added the cooking liquid. Mirepoix Purée was also the base for a recent Blackbird Pie. A recipe I promise to share soon.
One final note about the French mirepoix. It should not be confused with it’s Cajun cousin, the trinity. The cooking trinity, made famous by Emeril Lagasse quoting Paul Prudhomme, is comprised of onion, bell peppers, and celery. I have no idea why the carrot got booted for the pepper. Does anyone know that story?
I’m off to play cheffy and whip up a mirepoix purée. If you follow The Schell Cafe on Facebook, Twitter or instagram, you’ll be able to see what’s cooking real-time. I’d be honored if you joined me in these other nooks on the web. Click on the links and join the fun!
I’ll be using the mirepoix puree trick tonight! Roasting a couple veal center shanks, followed by topping them with a sauce using dijon mustard, maple syrup, the mirepoix puree, and a little Newcastle Brown Ale. It’s unusually cold and windy here for early Spring, and this will go nicely with a pile of duck fat roasted potatoes and a malty beer.