Monday, December 21, 2015

A Not-So Secret Ingredient

At one point in my adult life I believed my mother coined the phrase “no man is an island.” My friend merrily pointed out that it was actually John Donne who supposedly said it first.

And then there was the time I was telling a story about my friend. I can't remember the story at all, but I remember that after I finished my story, the listener stared at me with huge laughing eyes. “That isn't about your friend,” she said. “That's about my nephew and I told you that story.”

To make matters worse, both those incidents happened with the same person.

Years later, I sat at my kitchen table with another friend, this time knowing exactly what I was saying. I had invited a genius way of cooking. It's cheep, healthy, fast, and delicious. I excitingly shared my secret with this friend with all kinds of enthusiasm and wonder. When I was finished with my speech she looked at me and said,

“Oh, you mean Mirepoix?”

What?

She went on to tell me how she had just googled it because it appeared in a recipe. I was dumbfounded. What? Apparently I didn't make it up.

Not only is it an old cooking trick, it turns out that almost every country has their own version. Włoszczyzna, Soffritto, Suppengrün, etc., etc., etc...

Just stick a knife through my heart, why don't you. One scented with onions, carrots, and celery.

That's the start of this Mirepoix. And, even though I didn't give birth to it, I claim it as my own adopted child.

Here's my version:

You'll need:

2 bags of celery (buy ones with as many leaves as possible!)
6 onions
1 large bag of carrots
1 box of mushrooms
2 green bell peppers
1 orange bell pepper (or red or yellow)

Chop the veggies in the food processor. Grind to a chunky puree. If there is something on the list that a family member hates, grind that first until it becomes a paste. Then you'll have the taste without the texture.

Add more or less of the things your family likes.

Mix them all in a huge bowl. You'll divide it and freeze in 7+ baggies. Depending on what you add, each bag will be a cup. If you have more than 7 cups, either make more baggies, or fill the original 7 bags. I love mine to be a cup and a half. If you have a large family, you might want your baggies to each have 2 cups. When freezing in baggies, it helps to squeeze out the air, and lay them flat.

I do this at the beginning of every month. It seems a little over-dramatic to tell you this has revolutionized my cooking, but it really has helped me make easy meals. So, considered yourself invited to dinner each Monday as I share a Mirepoix recipe. And we'll enjoy quick and yummy food… recipes I may - or may not have - invented.

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