Mirepoix is one of the classic French preparation ingredients found in many classic dishes and still used today. The traditional mirepoix contains onions, celery and carrots, and in a ratio of 2 parts onions, 1 part celery and 1 part carrots, and it is used in the making of stocks, soups, sauces, and stews. Onions, celery and carrots in this combination are aromatic vegetables and also known as the Holy Trinity of French cooking since they are the cornerstone ingredients of the cuisine.
This combination of vegetables was first known to have been used in the late 1690’s by the Chef de Cuisine of the Frenchman Charles-Pierre-Gaston-François de Lévis, duc de Lévis-Mirepoix. Now that is a mouthful of a name. The story goes that the chef was credited with creating the sautéed combination of the three vegetables and served as a basis for his particular culinary talents. Many French culinary preparations derive their name from the patron of the chef who established the culinary significance of the ingredient, combination of flavors, cooking procedure or technique.
The Holy Trinity of Cajun and Creole cooking consists of onions, celery and green bell peppers. The amount of onions is not as much as the classic French Mirepoix, but in Cajun preparations typically it is an equal portion of each ingredient in a 1:1:1 ratio. Just like the ole saying “First you start with a roux….” the same is true with the Holy Trinity, most Cajun preparations use a trio of onions, celery and green bell peppers as the base vegetable seasoning aromatic ingredient. The Cajun Holy Trinity can be found in recipes for most gumbos, etouffees, jambalaya’s, sauce piquants, shrimp stews, crab soup, oyster artichoke soup, red beans and rice, and the list goes on.
Here is a typical recipe that contains the Cajun Holy Trinity of onions, celery and green bell peppers. It is a Creole Sauce from the Hyatt Regency Hotel New Orleans, 1984. It is another sauce that I made on a weekly basis or as needed while in the Saucier position in the main kitchen.
Creole Sauce – Hyatt Regency Hotel New Orleans
2 lb Margarine
8 oz Garlic, minced
1 sheet pan Green bell peppers, diced (1 full sheet pan, 4” tall)
1 sheet pan Onion, diced
1 sheet pan Celery, diced
10 oz Flour
5 gal Beef stock
1 case Mushrooms, sliced (10 lbs)
6 cans Tomatoes, diced (#10 cans)
3 cans Tomato puree (#10 cans)
3 cans Chili sauce (#10 cans)
3 oz Thyme
5 each Bay leaves
1 oz Cayenne pepper
To taste Salt and white pepper
8 oz Worcestershire sauce
Melt margarine or bacon fat until hot and add garlic to sauté.
Add onion, celery, bell peppers, and mushrooms and sweat until soft.
Add flour to absorb liquid and grease.
Add stock and mix well.
Add tomato products and chili sauce and stir well.
Add herbs and spices and stir well, bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.