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What Is Mirepoix, That Famous Aromatic Trio?

the ingredients for a mirepoix, laid out on a counter
Magnago/Shutterstock

What is this fancy term foodies and home chefs keep referring to? How do you even say it? Mirepoix goes back to day one in culinary school for many chefs, but now you can learn, too.

What Is Mirepoix?

Mirepoix is a combination of two parts onion, one part carrots, and one part celery used as an aromatic base for soups, stocks, sauces, and so much more. You’ve likely seen mirepoix (pronounced “meer-pwah”) in many recipes, even if only listed as individual ingredients.

Every dish has to start somewhere, and a vegetable base is a great way to lend excellent flavor and fragrance, which is where this combination comes in. There are, however, other variations of this vegetable trio.

Diced onion, celery and carrot with the whole vegetables in the background.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Variations of Mirepoix

There are many types of mirepoix, all essential staples to various cuisines:

French: Mirepoix in French cuisine is the most common combination of onion, carrots, and celery that we’ve already talked about. While the vegetables can be used whole for stocks and other recipes, they’re commonly diced uniformly to ensure even cooking.

German: Suppengrün is the German version of this veggie combo. You’ll often find the ingredients consist of carrots, celery root, and leek, but potatoes and parsnips often make it into the pot as well.

Spanish: What makes this Spanish version unique is the combination of onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Bell peppers and fresh herbs are also often used in this sofrito.

Italian: Soffritto is the Italian version of cooked mirepoix and starts with onion, carrots, and celery. Garlic, fennel, fresh parsley, and sometimes pancetta all make their way in, as well.

Cajun: Referred to as “the holy trinity,” Cajun cuisine uses a variation of onion, green bell pepper, and celery.

We say if you’re using this foundational flavor boost, then you’re doing pretty well.

Common Dishes with Mirepoix

A soul-warming stock is one of the more basic recipes that includes mirepoix. Rather than spending time prepping your vegetables, after a quick wash, you can throw them in whole. A homemade broth also uses traditional French mirepoix.

Chicken noodle soups, chowders, and beef barley soups all start with this aromatic vegetable base. These soups wouldn’t be the same without it.

Many casseroles—like chicken noodle casserole—use this veggie combo, and if you love yourself a slice of chicken pot pie, that uses it, too.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »

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