Start with a Mirepoix for Healthy Dishes

Man Starting a Mirepoix on the Stove

After realizing you’ve already gained nearly 10 pounds this year, you decided to start eating healthier and working out regularly. You desperately desire to obtain a slimmer figure by the end of the summer. Unfortunately, you’re dreading your new, diet plan as much as your upcoming trip to your dentist’s office. If you can relate to this scenario, you might assume all healthy foods are hopelessly bland. Thankfully, this belief held by many dieters couldn’t be further from the truth. To tantalize your taste buds, you merely need to start with a mirepoix for healthy dishes.

Portioning Vegetables for a French Mirepoix

The mirepoix originated in France. The traditional, French mirepoix consists of 50 percent onions, 25 percent carrots, and 25 percent celery. You can dice the vegetables into as small or as large of pieces as you like. However, you should always dice all of the vegetables in the same, uniform size. This delicious, aromatic combination of onions, carrots, and celery is often used to flavor: 

  • Stews
  • Soups
  • Sauces
  • Stocks
  • Marinades

Typically, the size of your diced vegetables should correlate to the overall preparation time of the dish you’re making. For instance, if you’re cooking a stew that needs to simmer for an hour or more, you’ll likely want to dice your onions, carrots, and celery into large wedges. To bring out the flavor of your mirepoix, sauté the onions and carrots in butter over medium to high heat. Once these vegetables begin to brown, add the celery. Continue cooking the mirepoix until the celery softens and turns a brighter hue of green.

Tasty Variations of the Basic Mirepoix

Several, tasty variations of the French mirepoix exist. For example, in Louisiana, chefs swap the carrots for green, bell peppers. The Cajun mirepoix is used to flavor gumbos and jambalayas. The Italian version of the mirepoix is referred to as soffritto. This mixture consists of onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Soffritto may also contain salty pancetta or prosciutto. Instead of being cooked in butter, soffritto is prepared in olive oil. To add tantalizing flavor to the dishes in your new, eating plan, consider experimenting with several versions of the delightful combination of aromatic ingredients known as the mirepoix.


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