Geek Chef

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Mirepoix June 10, 2009

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 8:51 pm
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From wikipedia: Mirepoix (pronounced /mɪər ˈpwɑː/) is the French name for a combination of onions, carrots, and celery celeriac). Traditionally, the ratio for mirepoix is 2:1:1 of onions, celery, and carrots. These three ingredients are commonly referred to as aromatics.

Mirepoix derives its name, as do many other elements of French cuisine[1], from the patron of the chef who established it – in this case one of the house of Lévis, seigneurs of Mirepoix since the eleventh century and a famous name in Languedoc.[2

Those simple ingredients make the base of most stocks, soups, stews and sauces.  As far as culinary holy trinities go, mirepoix – in my opinion – is second only to garlic, onion and extra virgin olive oil. It is safe to say I am a fan.

Mirepoix is standard in many cuisines and can be found in many supermarkets packaged together, pre-chopped. I believe that pre-chopped mirepoix is a sin. But it’s one of those minor sins, like red meat on the sabbath. I do it all the time, for the sake of time, but I do not recommend it for the more delicate dishes. Take the time and chop the ingredients, it adds love to the food and that is the best ingredient. </soapbox>

Tonight’s dish is not French, but uses celery, carrots and onion the way is was intended. The following recipe is for Australian shepherd’s pie. NOTE: no Australian Shepherds were harmed in the making of this meal! This is the Aussie version of an English classic, traditionally using lamb but beef and turkey work equally well. This is a popular dish with the men in my life, and I would assume works just as well with kids. It is a meat and potato meal, while slipping in a good deal of veggies.

Another thing to note, I make my version using ketchup. Tomato paste, tomato sauce or ketchup, it’s been greatly debated and I stand by my choice. It’s the same question with Pad Thai and my answer is the same there. I just like the way it makes stuff taste.

Now, on to the food…

Aussie Shepherd’s Pie

1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
1 lbs ground meat
2 tbs flour
2 cups Beef stock
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 dried bay leaf
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs ketchup

For Mashed Potato Topping:
4 potatoes, cubed
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk

Sauté onion, carrot and celery in a large saucepan with olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft. Add ground meat, stirring occasionally to break up lumps, for 5 minutes or until the meat changes color. Sprinkle the flour and cook for 2 minutes or until combined. Add stock, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and zucchini. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large pot cook potatoes until tender. Drain well. Return to the pan, add butter and mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Add milk and stir until incorporated. Season to taste and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350.

Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with breadcrumbs, then add the meat mixture. Pipe the mashed potatoes on top of the mixture to make the “crust”. I make a piping bag out of a large ziploc – fill bag and cut the corner. Bake until the top is brown and the filling is bubbly.

Enjoy!

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