Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cooking Class 3: Slicing and Dicing

There is a reason professional chef's and caterers have sous chefs. While some chopping and other prep work can be fun, having to do it all the time can be something that keeps us from cooking altogether. I fix this problem by chopping up all my aromatics at one time and keeping them in the fridge for use through the week.
For the purposes of this blog class, I will refer to the aromatics that are sauteed before most dishes as "mirepoix" (chopped carrots, celery and onions). Mirepoix is actually the French combination of aromotics, but I will be using it for all the different mixes of aromatics, regardless of the nation of origin, for the sake of keeping things simple. The Spanish use a "sofrito" which is a combination of onions, tomatoes and garlic. Germans use a "Suppengrün " which is a mix of celeriac, carrot and leeks. Then there is the "holy trinity" in Cajun cooking which consists of onion, celery and green bell pepper. There are many possibilities and you don't have to be tied down to one or the other. You may find yourself putting together your own blend using any number of the herbs, in roughly equal quantities. 

The typical aromatics that you will find in a United States grocery are: carrots and tomatoes (neither are particularly highly scented, but they are used with aromatics), onion, garlic, peppers (bell or hot), and celery.  There are others, but these are the ones that will be easy to find. In some mixes, like another type of Sofrito, herbs are used, such as cilantro or flat leaf (Italian) parsley.

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