Here is the what, why, and how of mirepoix. Understanding these aromatics and how to cook them will (1) help you add flavor your cooking (i.e., adding mirepoix to jarred marinara is a great way to make it your own), and (2) cook without recipes (i.e., start a soup with broth and mirepoix and you’re off to the races!).
What is It?
- Onion + celery + carrot, finely diced, and cooked in olive oil or butter until soft. The traditional ratio is 2 parts onion, to one part celery, to one part carrot.
- Commonly referred to as “aromatics,” these humble vegetables release flavors when cooked that provide the backbone for your final dish.
- Check out Serious Eats’ guides on how to cut carrots, onion, and celery. Trader Joe’s also carries it pre-chopped.
Why Should I Care?
Because knowing how to prepare a mirepoix and when to use it will help you be flexible and creative in the kitchen, and makes feeding your family faster, easier, and more enjoyable.
How is “Mirepoix” Pronounced?
How Do I Cook Mirepoix?
Chop vegetables into uniform pieces. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they will cook. Saute over medium heat in olive oil or butter until caramelized. If you want to be precise, start by cooking the carrots and onion together first, and once they begin to soften, add the celery — it doesn’t need to cook as long. (FYI: I rarely do this; instead I add it all together at once and the celery ends up a little softer than the carrots and onion. I think this is fine.)
In Which Recipes is it Traditionally Used?
How Can Mirepoix Make My Life Easier?
Keep a container of cooked mirepoix in the refrigerator, and add to:
- Pasta sauce
- Pizza sauce
- Egg scrambles and bakes
- Stir fries
What Are Some Variations?
- Italian Sofrito: onion + celery + carrot + garlic + pancetta
- Cajun (called “the Holy Trinity”): onion + celery + bell pepper
- “White Mirepoix” (used to make a colorless stock): onion + celery + parsnips + mushrooms
What Are Some Potential Additions to a Mirepoix?
- Crushed red pepper
- Tomato paste
- Soy sauce
- Green onions