I had a local farm-to-table restaurant chef review my eCookbook since I am not a culinary schooled trained chef or even a very experienced home cook, although I am a good home cook! I was curious to know what he thought of my recipes, if any spices or ingredients needed to be added to make them better for the revised and updated cookbook.
Thankfully, he loved all my recipes and thought they were great as-is. He made a comment during our talks that the bases of most of my recipes were similar to a Mirepoix.
I said, “Huh?? What the F is a Mirepoix?”
It’s pronounced meer-pwah for all you non-culinary school peeps out there like me, and it is a combination of carrots, onions and celery.
These three ingredients serve as the base for many soups, stews and sauces and are very flavorful and aromatic.
I had no freaking clue.
I cook with these three things a lot, but had no idea that what I was doing had a name. There are many variations of mirepoix depending on the region and then in other countries there are other combinations as well. For example, in Italy a common combination is onions, garlic, and celery and it’s called a soffrito.
So why is this handy to know?
Because if you are shopping at the farmer’s market or growing your own vegetables and you have a full bounty of vegetables to use up, but you are stumped with what to do them, you can use a mirepoix as your base and then add in whatever is fresh and seasonal. And if you are using butter and maybe some cream, I guarantee you it will come out delish and none of your bounty will go to waste.
Take for example my apple-butternut squash soup, it’s a classic mirepoix with cream and chicken stock as the soup base and then two special ingredients, apple and butternut squash, for variation. So, once you have the foundation down you can start experimenting with in-season ingredients and really have fun creating!