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Mirepoix and sofrito – The Denver Post

What luck Charles Pierre Gaston Francois de Lévis had. He began his public life at a deficit, “an incompetent and mediocre individual,” wrote the great Pierre Larousse, as quoted in the “Oxford Companion to Food.”

But because Louis XV had eyes for de Levis’ wife, the king made him Duke of Mirepoix and kept him nearby. Mirepoix, for his part, tinkered in the royal kitchens, eventually giving his name to a preparation of seasonings —  mostly chopped onion, carrot and celery — that cooks all over the world reflexively use every day.

“Mirepoix” (pronounced meer-pwah), or its Spanish sibling “sofrito” or Italian “soffritto,” are what chefs call “aromatics,” the heady mix of vegetables and seasonings at the base of many warm temperature dishes (certainly most wet dishes such as soups or braises) all over the world.

Typically, the French or Western base is two parts onion to one part each carrot and celery, diced or chopped small or large depending on what dish it underlies: for example, small dice for soups, large chop for stews or stocks.

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