Mike and I took an Italian cooking class from a professional chef a few years ago in the days when whole days would stretch out in front of us with nowhere we needed to be and nothing we needed to do. It was a Christmas gift from his mom that taught us some great tricks in the kitchen to take our cooking up a level. We love to cook together, so this was a perfect date for us. I still make the Pasta e Fagioli a couple times a month that we learned that day, and we also learned the tip of keeping a mason jar of fresh garlic that’s been finely minced in the food processor and topped with olive oil. And we learned how to make mirepoix, which I always have in the freezer, ready to be thrown into soups and sauces as a thickener or a flavor enhancer.
French mirepoix is a combination of onion, carrot and celery. If you’ve cooked any kind of soup, you’ve probably used this combination and cooked it down in a couple tablespoons of butter as your base. But Chef Baba taught us a new, easier way to use mirepoix in our cooking. You simply throw a combination (usually 50% onion, 25% celery and 25% carrot) into a food processor and blend it into a sort of chunky paste. Freeze it in ice cube trays or in mason jars to throw into your cooking whenever you need it. And I use it alllllll the time now. I make a gigantic batch and freeze bunches of it at once so it’s always there for me to use at the drop of a hat. I sometimes freeze it in ice cube trays so I can have it in smaller units too. To cook it, I just saute the mirepoix with a couple tablespoons of butter and/or olive oil on medium high heat until nice and pasty, then continue on with the recipe. I use it when recipes call for it, and when it doesn’t. I just always use it as the base of my soups, no matter what kind I’m making. I can tell the difference, and I think you’ll be able to too.
- 2-3 onions (red or white, I usually use red)
- 2 carrots, scrubbed clean and trimmed
- 2-3 celery stalks, trimmed
- Roughly chop veggies.
- Add to food processor.
- Blend on high until it turns into a uniform paste.
- Store in small mason jars or smear into ice cube trays and freeze, or refrigerate until ready to use.
- When ready to use, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and saute until soft.