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Mirepoix


DanCole42
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So whenever I make a mirepoix or something like it for soup, sauce, stock, gravy, whatever, I'm faced with a problem of waste. All I really need are two or three stalks of celery... two or three carrots; usually less when I'm cooking for two.

However grocers, in their marketing wisdom, only allow me to buy bulk quantities of ten celery stalks, or ten carrots.

So to my fellow gourmands... what do YOU do with your leftovers?

In theory, couldn't I just stick a Ziploc bag of pre-cut mirepoix in the freezer? The veggies will be all soggy when they thaw, but they're going into a pot of boiling water and then getting discarded anyway, so it's not like the texture is important. Would they lose any of their aromatic qualities, or is freezing the way to go?

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So whenever I make a mirepoix or something like it for soup, sauce, stock, gravy, whatever, I'm faced with a problem of waste. All I really need are two or three stalks of celery... two or three carrots; usually less when I'm cooking for two.

However grocers, in their marketing wisdom, only allow me to buy bulk quantities of ten celery stalks, or ten carrots.

So to my fellow gourmands... what do YOU do with your leftovers?

In theory, couldn't I just stick a Ziploc bag of pre-cut mirepoix in the freezer? The veggies will be all soggy when they thaw, but they're going into a pot of boiling water and then getting discarded anyway, so it's not like the texture is important. Would they lose any of their aromatic qualities, or is freezing the way to go?

Freezing will not cause you any problems. You can also use those carrots and celery that have wilted (dehydrated) a bit in your crisper along with saved onion tops and such.

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So whenever I make a mirepoix or something like it for soup, sauce, stock, gravy, whatever, I'm faced with a problem of waste. All I really need are two or three stalks of celery... two or three carrots; usually less when I'm cooking for two.

However grocers, in their marketing wisdom, only allow me to buy bulk quantities of ten celery stalks, or ten carrots.

So to my fellow gourmands... what do YOU do with your leftovers?

In theory, couldn't I just stick a Ziploc bag of pre-cut mirepoix in the freezer? The veggies will be all soggy when they thaw, but they're going into a pot of boiling water and then getting discarded anyway, so it's not like the texture is important. Would they lose any of their aromatic qualities, or is freezing the way to go?

Are you sure it's a mirepoix instead of a dice, a julienne or a brunoise? :P

My Safeway sells single stalks of celery, single carrots and single onions. I understand your problem, though. Someone could make a fortune in the city with a grocery store that actually took single shoppers into consideration.

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As you probably know, one of the fundamental principles of the same French tradition that codified mirepoix, brunoise etc. (for those precise definitions and having $50 to spare, The French Luandry Cookbook has a great two-page spread with "actual size" photoes of all these little dices) is that nothing goes to waste. Hence their facility at turning pig snouts into pate and serving veal brains as appetizers. In this spirit, I suggest that you turn your leftover celery into the hors d'oeuvres that precede your mirepoix-oriented main course, using a recipe handed down to me by my mother: fill the hollows of each stalk with a little bit of this, and arrange in an attractive circular patter on a doilied plate.

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In this spirit, I suggest that you turn your leftover celery into the hors d'oeuvres that precede your mirepoix-oriented main course, using a recipe handed down to me by my mother: fill the hollows of each stalk with a little bit of this, and arrange in an attractive circular patter on a doilied plate.

Gussied up like that, you have permission to call it Liptauer...

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So to my fellow gourmands... what do YOU do with your leftovers?
I use carrots more than celery in day-to-day cooking, but I do use both. I frequently add shredded or minced carrot to tomato sauce. Sometimes I just chop them up with a bunch of other vegetables and saute them to add to rice or couscous for a quick meal. I include shredded carrots on sandwiches sometimes. I put both in salads, either green salads or things like Waldorf Salad (celery) or Curried Chicken (or Turkey) Salad. Carrot sticks and celery sticks make good snacks as well.
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Funny how you still see supermarkets selling bags of celery hearts at higher prices. To me, that's relish in New England with radishes, wedges of hard-boiled eggs, pickles (cucumber, onion, beet & cauliflower), pimento-stuffed green olives from a jar and black olives out of a can. Cut glass tray.

I'm sympathetic to the lack of enthusiasm for celery. Unless stored upright in water w/ produce bag for a hood, it turns pale and limp quickly. Insipid or too bitter at times. I go through phases, actually liking it:

1) minced in tuna, chicken or turkey salad [sandwiches]

2) in salad with crisp Romaine, toasted chopped walnuts and gorgonzola. Half the cheese is mashed into red wine vinegar with fork before being mixed with EVOO, S & P. Crunch contrasts & complements. Assertiveness makes up for the lettuce.

3) double or triple celery soup with sautéed cubes of celery root. Slice the tops of the celeriac and throw them in, too. Thyme. A leek if you're afraid it will be too bitter.

4) a quicker soup with Arborio rice and plenty of your chicken stock.

Bet it wouldn't be bad treated like chard stalks, or mixed in with them in longish slices, braised in chicken stock, add a little cream. Top with Parm & toasted bread crumbs and bake as a gratin. Also plan on making a ragu before the celery goes bad---if you don't chop up leftovers for the freezer.

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My Safeway sells single stalks of celery, single carrots and single onions.
Single onions and carrots are fairly easily found (although WF doesn't seem to offer single carrots, most supermarkets do, I've found). But there's a Safeway that offers individual stalks of celery? Unlike carrots, celery actually grows in bunches. Which Safeway?
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Single onions and carrots are fairly easily found (although WF doesn't seem to offer single carrots, most supermarkets do, I've found). But there's a Safeway that offers individual stalks of celery? Unlike carrots, celery actually grows in bunches. Which Safeway?
The one on Columbia Road, for starters.
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Funny how you still see supermarkets selling bags of celery hearts at higher prices. To me, that's relish in New England with radishes, wedges of hard-boiled eggs, pickles (cucumber, onion, beet & cauliflower), pimento-stuffed green olives from a jar and black olives out of a can. Cut glass tray.

I'm sympathetic to the lack of enthusiasm for celery. Unless stored upright in water w/ produce bag for a hood, it turns pale and limp quickly. Insipid or too bitter at times. I go through phases, actually liking it:

1) minced in tuna, chicken or turkey salad [sandwiches]

2) in salad with crisp Romaine, toasted chopped walnuts and gorgonzola. Half the cheese is mashed into red wine vinegar with fork before being mixed with EVOO, S & P. Crunch contrasts & complements. Assertiveness makes up for the lettuce.

3) double or triple celery soup with sautéed cubes of celery root. Slice the tops of the celeriac and throw them in, too. Thyme. A leek if you're afraid it will be too bitter.

4) a quicker soup with Arborio rice and plenty of your chicken stock.

Bet it wouldn't be bad treated like chard stalks, or mixed in with them in longish slices, braised in chicken stock, add a little cream. Top with Parm & toasted bread crumbs and bake as a gratin. Also plan on making a ragu before the celery goes bad---if you don't chop up leftovers for the freezer.

All great ideas I would love to implement, except that celery is one of the (many) vegetables that my daughter and husband don't like :P So I can't use raw celery in any prominent way. And I always get complaints if I include celeriac in a melange of roasted vegetables; I am sometimes able to get away with potato and celery root puree, if the potatoes are more prominent and just too much deliciousness is on the plate to leave uneaten.

Somehow, I always have a bunch of celery in my veg drawer, and it all gets used...

I end up using celery all the time, particularly the inner stalks with leaves attached, for stocks, sauces, braises and stews. I leave them whole, and fish the stalks out before serving.

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Dan,

2 words -- salad bar.

Lets you get as much as you need, no waste.

Good advice to eliminate waste, and save time, but very pricey at $3.99/lb.

Just got back from Cajunland (aka South Louisiana) -- every grocery store sells the Louisiana version of mirepoix, which relies on bell peppers rather than carrots, in the produce section, and also frozen (raw).

In my own experience, nothing beats fresh-cut (cut it yourself) but second best is to saute all you've got and put the leftover cooked "trinity" in a container in the back of the fridge. Keeps well for several days, but not weeks.

But then, in Louisiana we always "sweat" the trinity first, never use it raw.

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