Savory Vegetable Starters

Description
These are four easy and flavorful vegetable starters that will help you to define the character of your food. In traditional French cuisine, a savory vegetable base is known as a “mirepoix.” Because these vegetable bases define much of the characteristic and flavor of the dish, I wanted to give you a few options so you could begin to understand how to construct dishes. All that is missing from these starters is protein, seasoning, and a sauce to make a complete meal.

Option A is traditional French mirepoix. It is commonly used in soups and hearty stews. Option B is a modified French mirepoix. It is extra savory because of the addition of portabella mushrooms. Option C is the holy trinity. This is again a modified French mirepoix that forms the basis of creole and Cajun food, both of which are direct descendants of French cuisine. Option D is a classic southwest style vegetable blend. It will add great southwest style flavors to anything you cook.

Option A: Traditional Mirepoix
Ingredients
4 carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp. canola oil

Option B: Savory Mirepoix
Ingredients
4 carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
8 oz. portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. canola oil

Option C: The Holy Trinity
Ingredients
2 green peppers, thinly chopped
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp. canola oil

Option D: Southwest Mirepoix
Ingredients
2 green peppers, chopped
8 oz. portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 red onion, chopped
2 tbsp. canola oil

Flavor Balancers (for all options)
1 tsp. kosher salt, coarse
1 tsp. black pepper, ground

Recipe Directions
These directions apply to all options. Heat a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and allow to warm for 30 seconds. Add all ingredients and allow to cook. Stir vigorously and often to prevent burning or sticking. Cook until onions are translucent. Use mirepoix in whatever recipe you are creating.

Chef Tips
You may wish to add a few tablespoons of cooking wine or water to help the onions cook properly. Onions benefit from a bit of moisture during the cooking process. The goal is to lightly brown, but fully cook these vegetable starters. Remember to slice all of your vegetables to an even size, because uneven sizes will create uneven cooking. This of course leads to burning.

About the Author:

Chef Ryan Callahan is an award winning author and chef. He is the author of Chef Ryan's How-to-Cook Cookbook, Cooking for Chemo ...and After!, Cooking for Kids with Cancer, and Chef Ryan Callahan’s Tasting Journal. Chef Ryan won a 2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Award (Best Health and Nutrition USA) for his ground-breaking book, Cooking for Chemo ...and After! Chef Ryan Callahan is a hospitality industry veteran with over 15 years of hands-on culinary experience in the kitchen and front of house. When he isn't cooking, eating, talking or thinking about food you can usually find him nestled up with some manga or playing video games on his computer.