Making the Basics: Mirepoix
Cost: About $5-6
Equipment: A large pan, a few onions, carrots, and 2 or 3 celery stalks, stock or broth
Time: About an hour
First, it’s just a trio of onions, celery, and carrots, in that order. Chop them up and sauté away. I used sheep’s butter on my last soup, and it was so wonderful. The flavor came through and it smelled heavenly. But any butter or oil will do – coconut, red palm (sustainably harvested, of course), olive, butter (even ghee, which is an Indian butter without the milk solids, which you can buy in a jar).
Now I’ve never been able to chop onions the way the chefs do on TV. I never will be able to, either. So my plan is to be careful and not lose any limbs. Use a few small onions or one large one. I chop the onion in half, from pole to pole. Then take the first half, and chop off
the top and bottom parts and peel off the skin. It should come off rather easily. Cut it in half across the equator. Now slice this quarter again and use the knife as if you were going from the crust to the interior, with the knife making longitudinal cuts so the onion falls into nice square pieces. I’m not fancy, it just gets the job done with minimal risk.
|Dicing the onions, my way|
|Celery dicing the easy way|
Fancy chefs make all the pieces the same size, but they still taste the same, so do whatever makes you happy! I like to take 2 or 3 ribs, clean off the bottom and cut the top off before the first joint. The joints tend to be a bit bitter or tough, so toss them in some stock if you have some going, or put it in the compost. When slicing the celery, it’s easy to slice it down the middle, then slice it crossways, with all four to six sticks at once on the board.
|About the same size|
You’re now adding the carrots to this sauté, and it’s starting to smell good. It’s time to think about what to add next. As you let the carrots soften, think about what you want. This mix is a great base for many meals, and you can stop here and think.
Here are some options:
2. Miso (there all all different flavors and colors)
3. Chili (What? Never heard of carrots in chili? Cuts the acid!)
4. Chop up some more vegetables and saute them too (options: corn, peas, zucchini, potato)
5. Add some salt and pepper and eat it now, as is
No wait! I know, take that stock out of the freezer and put it into the pan! I like to hold it under warm running water for a few seconds till it starts to slide out of the container (use a finger to stop its slide!). Add it to the pan. Let it melt. You now have a wonderful soup base, after adding salt and pepper to taste (remember to taste).
4. Jerusalem artichokes
5. Corn (no GMO please)
6. Pasta (least healthy but can be OK)
7. A can of tomatoes or tomato paste
8. Celery root, diced
8. Celery root, diced
Now here's the tough part. To blend, or not to blend? If you have a blender stick, be careful if you're using a shallow pan! Or you can use a blender, but make sure it's not too hot, and not too full.