If you've ever ventured into French cooking, you know it can be intimidating at first. Especially when the first step is a mirepoix. You read the word and you're high school French experience fails you. What is a mirepoix? A mirepoix is a buttered and browned mixture of vegetables, and it is nothing to be feared. It is the base to many soups and sauces. Here is a beginner's guide to a few different types of mirepoix and how they're used.

A Traditional Mirepoix

vegetable, onion, carrot, pepper, celery, saute
Kathleen Lee

A traditional mirepoix contains carrots, celery, and onion. Add butter to a hot pan with a one to one ratio of carrots and celery and twice as much onion. Sauté the vegetables until they are browned (slightly cooked more than caramelized). This combination is particularly good for soups and beef dishes. 

The Creole Holy Trinity

vegetable, pasture, celery
Laura Lau

The Creole Holy Trinity, or the Trinity as is is more commonly known, is Louisiana's adaption of a traditional mirepoix. The Trinity contains celery, onion, and bell pepper (traditionally green bell pepper). Once again, sauté butter and equal amounts of bell pepper, celery, and onion until browned. The Trinity is most often used in gumbo and étouffée


vegetable, garlic, pasture, tomato, pepper, onion
Laura Lau

Sofrito is the Spanish equivalent of a mirepoix. Like a traditional mirepoix, it is the base to many Spanish and Portuguese influenced dishes. It is typically seasoned with paprika and contains bell pepper, onion, garlic, and tomatoes sautéed in olive oil until brown and sauce-like. It is most often used in soups and rice. It is best in beef dishes. 

See, a mirepoix isn't as scary as it sounds. My favorite thing about them is that you can use whatever vegetable you want, and you can use them as the base for almost any dish. Go ahead and try one out, or make up your own!