Mirpoix is one of the most fundamental French aromatic combinations, used to give background flavor to stock, sauces, braises and soups, and even to stuff or perfume roasts. It adds sweetness and aroma from the onion, sugar and earthiness from the carrot, and a floating kind of herbal intrigue from the celery. It's an especially great way to add freshness and complexity to canned broths or stocks, giving those often otherwise lifeless liquids a bit of character.
- 2 parts onion
- 1 part carrot
- 1 part celery (theoretically by weight, but really don't worry about it too much)
For fresh chicken or other meat stock:
- Traditionally, use about 1/8 of the amount of mirepoix as the bones, meaning that if you have 2 pounds of bones, use ¼ pound of mirepoix.
- Cut each vegetable into 1-inch chunks; add for about the last hour to half-hour of simmering. This size allows the flavors to extract over time, and not have the vegetables overcook and fall apart. Adding toward the end preserves a fresher, more delicate and pronounced flavor.
To make canned broth taste much better:
- Just set it to simmer for a half-hour or so with about ¼ pound of mirepoix to every pint of broth. If you're in a hurry, just cut the vegetables smaller and simmer it for a shorter time.
As an all-purpose flavor booster::
- Sautéing mirepoix is a great way to start and add flavor to so many everyday items. Chop up a handful of it finely and sauté it lightly over medium heat until it sweats and the onions are translucent, and then from there cook a pot of rice. It adds a vegetal complexity that is intriguing and satisfying without getting in the way. Or do it (especially in a little butter) for your next tomato sauce, and see how it mellows it out.