Every region has their own version how to start off a great dish. The simple combinations are usually staples in any kitchen waiting to add a boost of flavor to your dish.
While I totally agree fresh is best, sometimes we are busy or have an over abundance of vegetables. You can pre-dice your vegetables and place in the freezer to enjoy you garden treasures through the winter or to have ready at a moments notice. Just the other day, I was deciding what to cook and while looking through the freezers found some pre-diced vegetables just waiting to be used.
The first cooking staple is French inspired- “Mirepoix“. Mirepoix is a simple base of onions, carrots and celery, typically in a 2-1-1 (cups) ratio. This mix is used in a number of dishes from soups and stew to sauces and roasts.
Down South where Cajun/ Creole cooking in popular you will hear about the “Holy Trinity“. Similar to Mirepoix except green peppers are substituted for the carrots. Holy Trinity is the base to most Creole dishes. The ratio is similar to that of Mirepoix or approximately 2 onions-2 stalks of celery and 1 bell pepper.
Italian dishes will typically use a Mirepoix base but with the addition of fennel, garlic, Italian parsley, pancetta or prosciutto. As one can imagine each family holds their “secret” recipe close to their heart. Just try to get that family recipe out of Nonna!!
Lastly, onto Spain and “Sofrito“. Spanish dishes frequently have the base called sofrito, which is onions, garlic and tomato. As with any of the foundations people have made their own version but if you know these basics you are well on your way to a flavorful savory dish.
As you can see a lot of these foundations start with humble beginnings- the onion. I usually place the diced vegetables in snack size ziplock baggies by the cup full and then place several of those snack size baggies into a gallon freezer bag. Obviously, date your bags. You can do the vegetables individual or have some pre-mixed. This is also a great idea if you frequent a warehouse club such as Costco, Sam’s Club or BJs and like to buy in bulk. I hate to waste food so this is just one way we try to save $ and be prepared when we can’t get to the store.