I think I might be a hoarder.
In an effort to clean out and organize my freezer today (which, albeit, is REALLY small) I discovered about eighty bags of frozen vegetables and fruits that I bought not too long ago when they were on sale. Now, I love frozen veggies, and I use them frequently (more on this later) but whenever they go on sale at the grocery store I feel like organic broccoli is NEVER GOING TO BE $2.50 A BAG AGAIN!!! And I buy four bags, and then my whole entire freezer is filled with frozen broccoli. The part about this that is most puzzling to me is that I never have any problem buying stuff when I actually need it for a recipe. I.e. if I were making something that required frozen broccoli I would not think twice about buying a bag of it whether it was on sale or not. And although frozen veggies are nice to have on hand, two people are not going to go through fifty servings of them between trips to the grocery store (which happen more frequently than I’d like to admit).
Anyway, what prompted my cleaning frenzy and subsequent discovery today was a whole bunch (actually, two bunches) of carrots and celery that were wasting away anemically in my vegetable drawer. Over the winter, I was making soup once or twice a week and fell into this situation frequently where I had bought a bunch of carrots and a bunch of celery for a recipe that required two carrots and three ribs of celery. Since Mark and I are not raw veggie people and I wasn’t cooking soup for a family of twelve, I was at kind of a loss when it came to using up the leftover carrots and celery. And then it hit me: why not chop them up and freeze them for when I made soup the next time? So that’s what I did.
Now I always have enough carrots and celery for soup, stew, pot pie, sauce, whatever AND (best of all) they’re already washed and chopped. Twenty minutes every couple of months to wash and chop, and that’s it.
And this is when you learn a new word: mirepoix (pronounced meer-eh-pwah). Mirepoix is the ratio of carrots to celery to onions that you dice and saute before making soup, stock, or other French things that I don’t make very often. The correct ratio is two parts onion to one part each celery and carrots. (Why don’t I freeze my onions, too, you ask? Because I always have them around and always use them up fairly quickly, so why crowd the freezer even more than it always is? But you could probably chop and freeze them if you wanted.) If I were guessing I’d say one medium onion diced is about twice as much as a medium sized carrot and two ribs of celery.
So here’s your non-recipe of the day:
Mirepoix, and Free-form Soup
Time commitment: 5-10 minutes to prep, 20-30 minutes to cook.
Makes: enough for one pot of soup
- 1 medium to large onion (I prefer sweet or yellow)
- 1 carrot, unless it’s really small, then use two
- 2 or 3 ribs of celery, depending on how big they are
- Heat up a soup pot over medium heat. Dice all veggies.
- Add oil to hot pan, about 1 or 2 tablespoons. Add veggies and saute till onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add 4-6 cups water or stock and bring to a boil. Add whatever else you want in your soup: grains, potatoes, greens, rice, pasta, lentils, tomatoes, spices. It’s totally up to you. Reduce to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally till all ingredients are tender. Add more water or stock if it gets too thick. Note: If you’re adding frozen or tender veggies like peas, green beans, squash or spinach, wait till the last 5 or 10 minutes before you serve to add those. Potatoes, greens, rice, pasta or lentils will take between 20 and 40 minutes to cook.