The essential three-vegetable recipe starter

Few things rival the mirepoix for flavor and fragrance in the home kitchen.

The trio—onions, carrots and celery in a 2-1-1 ratio—are diced and sautéed in butter and act as a base for traditional French dishes, from soups to stocks to sauces. Similar combinations—like the Italian soffritto, the German suppengrün, and the Cajun “holy trinity”—flavor dishes around the world.

It’s a simple, indispensable concept, but before you toss them into a skillet, make sure you know how to wrangle your vegetables.

The size of the dice will depend on your recipe. Rough chop them for long-simmering stocks and gravies, dice fine for more delicate sauces. Whatever the size, consistency is the goal.

Save time (and your fingertips) with these prep techniques for a classic mirepoix:

Tame onions by cutting off the stem end, slicing in half through the root, and peeling. Place the half onion on the board and grasp by the root. Point your knife toward the root and slice, leaving the root intact. Create a dice by slicing again, parallel to the root. Watch a full video of the technique here.

Knife Skills: How to Slice and Dice an Onion

How To Finely Chop An Onion - Gordon Ramsay

To keep carrots from rolling, cut them into manageable two-inch pieces and then slice each of these lengthwise into quarters. Take each piece and cut it into sticks (batons). Gather these together and cut across the grain, creating a dice. See the technique here.

Chopping a carrot - Jamie Oliver's Home Cooking Skills

Knife Skills - How to Dice a Carrot

Remove strings from a celery stalks then cut into into 2-inch chunks. Slice these lengthwise into batons then across the grain for a dice.

How to Dice Celery

How to Chop Celery Stalks | Preparing Vegetables the Right Way | Learn to Cook

For an in-depth exploration of celery preparation:

Paring, washing and cutting celery | French cooking techniques


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