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Kitchen Basics: Mirepoix vs. Holy Trinity

Creating a delicious stock, soup, or stew is all about the layering of flavors over time. Traditionally, this means starting with a combination of vegetables that are sautéed in olive oil or butter to release their flavors and form the base of your dish. Interestingly, depending on where you are in the world, the combination of vegetables differ, but two of the most common are mirepoix and the holy trinity. Here’s the difference:

  • Mirepoix (prounounced meer-pwahis the classic and most common French combination of onions, carrots, and celery, typically in a ratio of 2 parts onion to 1 parts each carrot and celery.

  • The Holy Trinity is the Cajun/Creole version of mirepoix which still uses onions and celery but substitutes green bell pepper for carrots. It is typically used in equal proportions or in the same ratio as mirepoix with 2 parts onion to 1 part each celery and green bell pepper.

Mirepoix is probably the combination that you’re the most familiar with because it’s the start of so many dishes. If you’re making anything Cajun like gumbo, jambalaya, or red beans and rice, swap out carrots for green bell pepper. Any way you go, starting with one of these trios will help give your dish the foundation it needs to be delicious.

  • pons_asinorum

    you don’t explain how to cook it.

    • Stating the Obvious

      This is a base of many different recipes, not a dish in and of itself. Wikipedia and Google are your friends. Use them.

      • twatster

        Way to be of help twat

        • dfetti

          Ask any serious restaurant cook how to make it, duh!

  • Afungus

    There are many interpretations, or methods of cooking this combination. You start with a hot pan, medium high heat. Use extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan and add the chopped vegetables. Butter may be added for additional flavor. Pepper and light salt. When the onions begin to be translucent, the dish is prepared for your next step in your main dish. The salt may be held until the onions are well on their way toward done, as the salt will pull moisture from the vegetables and make them soupy. Some start with the onions in a medium hot oil and butter cook to allow the onions to caramelize. Which makes for a sweetness to the dish.