A mirepoix (meer-PWAH) is, most typically, a combination of celery, onions, and carrots. There are a lot of regional mirepoix variations, and it can also include additional spices.
Mirepoix, either raw, roasted or sautéed with butter or olive oil, is the flavor base for a wide number of dishes, such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces (as well as my mama’s turkey stuffing). The three ingredients are commonly referred to as aromatics.
Similar combinations of vegetables are known as the holy trinity in Creole cooking, refogado in Portuguese, soffritto in Italian, sofrito in Spanish,
Though the cooking technique is probably older, the term mirepoix dates from the 18th century and derives, as do many other appellations in French cuisine,from the aristocratic employer of the cook credited with establishing and stabilizing it: in this case, Charles-Pierre-Gaston François de Lévis, duc de Lévis-Mirepoix (1699–1757), French field marshal and ambassador. According to Pierre Larousse (quoted in the Oxford Companion to Food), the unfortunate Duke of Mirepoix was “an incompetent and mediocre individual. . . who owed his vast fortune to the affection Louis XV felt toward his wife and who had but one claim to fame: he gave his name to a sauce made of vegetables and a variety of seasonings”
One of my favorite recipes using a mirepoix is our Italian Sausage Potato Soup.
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.
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