There is one thing that the best-tasting French soups, stews and casseroles have in common… Mirepoix. Though its name sounds like a fancy appetiser you would have in a 5-star restaurant, mirepoix is the simple combination of onion, carrot, and celery that makes the base of countless dishes.
The aromatic combination of vegetables is diced evenly and cooked in butter to create a robust base flavour to build the rest of the dish on top of.
As mirepoix is so simple to prepare, you will likely find yourself making too much for the dish that you want to cook. After all, there is only so much carrot and celery that a potato soup or chicken casserole can take. So the next time you find yourself with spare, don’t throw them out!
5 Things to do with Leftover Mirepoix
What makes mirepoix so great is its versatility. Its 3 vegetables are easy to pair with a range of proteins, other vegetables and flavours without any clashes. Here are the best ways to make use of your leftover mirepoix:
1) Experiment With Soups
Onions, carrots and celery are often found in soup recipes regardless of if you have made a mirepoix or not. Even if you are cooking a soup that does not require all 3 vegetables, then there will be at least 1 of the 3 parts of a mirepoix acting as a key flavour component in the soup.
Because onions, carrots and celery are so widely used in soups all over the world, you can use a base of mirepoix to experiment with different flavours you may not have tried before.
Of course, any hearty vegetable soup such as roast vegetable or potato and leek soup would be the ideal soup parings for your spare mirepoix. However, more unique vegetable soups like parsnip soup or pea soup can also pair easily with the onion, carrot, and celery combo.
The mirepoix will change the soups regarding their classification (for example, a pea soup can not necessarily be classified as a pea soup if mirepoix is added). But there is no doubt that the soup will taste delicious.
Chicken and turkey-based soups could also benefit from mirepoix. As far as meats go, chicken and turkey can be pretty bland if not infused with plenty of flavours. Using mirepoix as a base in turkey or chicken soups will automatically elevate the soup and add a burst of flavour through the soup.
2) Make Chicken Dishes Delicious
In a similar vein to how mirepoix can make a chicken-based soup taste so much better, mirepoix can be used in almost any chicken dish to elevate its flavour.
You can marinate the chicken first if you want to get a full burst of flavour from your chicken. But if you are unsure of how best to add flavour to your chicken dish without turning out bland chicken, all you need to do is fry the chicken with the mirepoix.
The chicken will not dry out as the mirepoix slowly cooks and the butter will help to keep the meat moist.
Once the chicken has developed this first layer of flavour from the mirepoix, you can then add the chicken to a sauce or another dish to finish cooking the chicken all the way through.
Alternatively, you can cook the chicken entirely with the mirepoix and serve the chicken alongside the onion, carrot, and celery.
3) Bulk Out Hearty Dishes
The soul of hearty dishes such as chicken pot pie and lasagne is vegetables. From parsnips to swede, peas to cabbage. Not only do these vegetables add plenty of nutrients and flavour to hearty dishes, but they also help to bulk out the dishes, making them more filling.
Onions are a given in most hearty dishes anyway. Likewise, carrots and celery are often chosen to help bulk out hearty dishes but are not always used depending on what you may have on hand.
That is why leftover mirepoix is the perfect way to bulk out hearty dishes, as it uses vegetables that are already commonly used for that exact same purpose!
Better yet, the size of the onion, carrot, and celery prepared for a mirepoix would be the size you typically want to use to make a hearty dish more filling.
4) Make Into Another Aromatic Combination
Mirepoix is not the only aromatic combination in the culinary world.
There are countless combinations of vegetable herbs, spices, fats, and seasonings that make up the base of pretty much every dish, offering an instantly recognisable flavour to some of your favourite dishes.
Every aromatic combination includes its own selection of aromatics, but mirepoix is very similar to a few other aromatic combos. So much so that a few changes to your leftover mirepoix can make it the perfect base for other dishes that are not just soups and stews.
- Soffritto – You could re-cook the onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil to make a soffritto—an Italian-based aromatic combo. The use of olive oil gives the aromatics a slightly fresher taste that, while strong, is lighter than that of mirepoix. Soffritto forms the base of many Italian pasta and lentil dishes.
- The Holy Trinity – Possibly the most well-known aromatic combination in cooking, The Holy Trinity is an essential staple to Cajun cuisine. The most significant difference is the use of bell peppers instead of carrots and the 3 aromatics being used on an even ratio.
- Suppengrün – As you may be able to get from the name, suppengrün is the German version. Instead of onion, leeks are used. If you have leftover mirepoix, just add diced leeks to make it perfect for German-inspired stews.
5) Freeze It
Freezing leftover mirepoix is one of the most straightforward and most sensible things you can do. Bag up the chopped vegetables into portion-sized bags, seal them up tight and then pop them into the freezer – that’s it!
When you’re making a stew, soup or casserole, grab one portion of the frozen vegetables, split the bag open and drop the frozen vegetables straight into your pot, cooking them over a low heat.
They’ll thaw fairly quickly and you can then continue cooking your meal as you usually would.
Leftover Mirepoix FAQs
Do you still have questions about what to do with leftover mirepoix? Then these FAQs might help you out:
Chopped and prepared mirepoix will only last for around 3 days in the fridge. Beyond this, the vegetables will lose their texture and flavour. If you want to keep it for longer, then consider freezing it.
Yes! Most supermarkets, especially in the freezer section, will sell ready-made mirepoix. This can be a great way to prevent leftovers, as you can grab a portion from the freezer as and when you need it.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.