Mirepoix is a very popular flavoring amalgamation of three aromatic ingredients namely celery, onion and carrot. Traditionally, the celery comes in the form of celeriac and pascal celery that is used with this combination of vegetables.
The three common ingredients of mirepoix recipe are also popularly known as ‘aromatics’ for the delectable aroma they contain.
Although the technique of mixing two or three aromatic vegetables is quite old, the actual use of the term 'Mirepoix’ in the French culinary culture dates back to the 18th century. The popular French chef of the Duc de Levis- 'Mirepoix,' is said to be the creator of Mirepoix recipe.
Though it’s a quite popular recipe in present times, the recipe of 18th century mirepoix is still mystifying. Till the 19th century, the use of this aromatic combination was quite less in French cuisine, but some modified recipes were introduced by some of the popular chefs of those times, such as Crème in the 1830s and Gouffein in the mid 19th century. By the end of the 19th century, mirepoix had been transformed into a modern condiment containing onion, celery, carrot and even ham and bacon dices. Several other cuisines such as German, Spanish, Creole and Polish cuisines also molded the original recipe to make their own versions. The traditional mirepoix recipe underwent many changes according to the regional preferences and the guidelines provided by the regional chefs.
Preparation and Uses
The combination of 50% of onions and 25% of each celery and carrot makes the true mirepoix. However, ham and bacon may also be included to give variation to the traditional recipe. Apart from the traditional three aromatics, the certain variations in French repertoire include mushrooms, leeks, parsnip, ginger, garlic and tomatoes as well. Pork belly is also one of the most commonly used components in this amalgamation of ingredients.
All the ingredients are required to be cut into tiny dices and used either raw or butter-sautéed to flavor various kind of dishes such as soups, stews, stocks and even sometimes to marinate the foods.
Quite often a sauce is also prepared by adding the celery, carrot and onion that is typically used as a condiment with meats.
- Soffritto – The Italian version of Mirepoix that contains olive oil instead of butter and includes garlic, leek, shallot and herbs as well.
- Suppengriin – Traditional German combination of vegetables including carrot, leek and celeriac. This mixture is generally used to flavor the soups and stews.
- Refogado – It is a Portuguese stew containing a base of tomatoes and onions similarly like the combination of onion, carrot and celery.
- Wloszczyzna – It is a Polish version that typically consists of carrot, celeriac, parsley root and white cabbage.
In Cajun or Creole cuisine, the mirepoix version is known as ‘holy trinity’ due to the three aromatic ingredients present in it.