Mirepoix (pronounced "meer pwah") is a base of onions, celery and carrots which is used to make flavorful soups, stews and pot roasts. Every home cook should know how to make mirepoix . I keep some extra stored in my freezer to get a head start on dinner.
Since it's winter, I have been constantly dreaming about all the soups and stews I will be cooking. In order to make them, I need a constant supply of mirepoix.
Since I don't always like chopping up a batch of onions, celery and carrots, I decided to keep a stash in my freezer. So I declared the other morning as mirepoix day so I could have an unlimited supply any time I need it.
What is Mirepoix?
Mirepoix is the French culinary term for a combination of diced carrots, onions and celery slow cooked in butter or olive oil. It makes sauces, soups and stews have a ton of flavor and is an aromatic base in both French and Cajun cooking. But I love it so much that I could eat a bowl for lunch and be happy. I start almost every soup I make with this combination.
The traditional ratio of vegetables is 2 :1: 1 with two parts onion to one part celery and one part carrots. But I say use whatever amounts you like and sometimes I use equal parts of all veggies. If you don't want a strong onion base, you can use equal amounts of everything.
Recipes using Mirepoix
Mirepoix also provides much flavor to sauces and stews. I use it in recipes such as this Red Wine Goulash . It really makes any hearty soup or stew wonderful!
Here are some more recipes that start with a carrot, celery and onion base. You can easily start with this mirepoix from the freezer instead.
Why Pre Make Mirepoix?
By having some packaged bags of mirepoix in my freezer, I can get a pot of soup on the stove much quicker. I just add the frozen mirepoix and stock to a pot, then add the other meat and veggies. The soup or stew simmers until my kitchen smells wonderful.
This is such a time saver and many times I don't want to be chopping onions for fear of stinky hands and fingers. You know those days where you are trying to get dinner in the slow cooker and then are headed to a business meeting? How would you like to shake hands with a new business contact and their hands come back stinking like an onion...lol? There is nothing worse than making a big pot of soup before heading to church and realizing right before the sign of peace that your hands still smell like celery and onions. This has happened to me too many times.
So now I pre-make my Mirepoix and have the designated "stinky onion hands day". This is on the days when I am home cooking and blogging, and I know I won't be interacting with anyone besides my kids or husband.
Tips for Making Perfect Mirepoix
- Pick fresh vegetables and use a sharp knife or food processor to dice veggies.
- For extra flavor add tomato paste, chicken broth or vegetable stock to this basic mirepoix recipe.
- Make sure to chop your celery, onion and carrots into similar sizes. This is the easiest way to insure everything will cook evenly.
How to Freeze Mirepoix
Mirepoix can be made and stored in a simple freezer bag. Freezing might make the mixture a bit soft. It's best to use this in soups and stews that are cooked for a long time or blended where the texture does not need to be chunky. If you don't want to freeze it, you can still make it in advance and keep in the fridge for a day or two.
Make a big batch so that it can be stored in individual freezer bags. I divide the mixture into one cup portions as this is a good amount for most of my recipes.
Make sure to label the bags and store the oldest ones in the front of the freezer. For best quality, they should be used up within two months.
Watch the video below, get the recipe and then start cooking!
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 cups chopped onions
- 4 cups chopped celery
- 4 cups chopped carrots
- Heat olive oil to medium in a large Dutch oven.
- Add onions, carrots and celery to the pan. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes or until veggies soften while occasionally stirring.
- Let the mirepoix cool and divide into 4 freezer bags. Label each bag. Lay bags flat in the freezer and use as needed.