Sunday, January 18, 2009

Aromatics



Aromatics are simply vegetables that have a lot of flavor and aroma that can persist throughout long cooking times. Aromatics are used to flavor everything from soups, sauces and stews to stuffing's and casseroles. The earliest mention of the subject that I have heard of is the mixture called Mirepoix, named for the town in which it was first used. It is a simple mixture of chopped onion, carrot and celery in a 2:1:1 ratio by weight. It is sauteed in butter and used as a flavor base for soups. Sometimes bacon or ham is added to this to make Mirepoix gras. Aside from the vegetable already mentioned, there are others that are used, often as replacements for the more common vegetables. Leeks, green onions and shallots are often used in place of onions, although they do not stand up quite as well as onions do to long cooking times. Shallots, especially, react poorly to extended heat, but for shorter cooking times they allow for a gentler flavor than onions give. If you experiment with Aromatics, I am certain you will end up with some favorite combinations that you can use to build on in various recipes

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