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Aromatic bases: mirepoix, soffritto, sofrito, duxelles, holy trinity and others!

lagatta Dec 28, 2013 06:04 PM

Do you make or use any of these or others? I'm sure some such bases exist in cuisines from other parts of the world. (mmm, ginger)

I was making chile and threw in some of a base I had made, mostly like a mirepoix but I also added finely chopped mushrooms. I do find they add a depth of flavour. I did add finely-chopped flatleaf parsely, but at the end. A friend violently hates cilantro.

  1. Shrinkrap Jan 1, 2014 04:49 PM

    This might be a useful sofrito link;

    "Typically speaking, sofrito is an aromatic seasoning sauce of herbs and spices used throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and Spain used to flavor thousands of dishes from beans to meat. Sofrito mixtures vary in ingredients based on which island or country they come from and are available in a range of colors and spice levels.

    The following list will link you up with the some of the best sofritos and seasoning sauces used in Caribbean cooking. Pick your favorite and use it the next time a recipe calls for sofrito"

    He also has a link to "an in depth sofrito article"

    "How did sofrito end up in Caribbean and Latin American cuisine and where did it originate?
    The word sofrito is Spanish in origin and means to lightly fry something, such as sautéing or stir-frying. It’s a technique that the Spanish colonists brought with them when they settled in the Caribbean and Latin America beginning in the late 1400s.

    But, sofrito is much older than that. The first known mention of the technique is referenced as sofregit in the “Libre de Sent Soví” (circa 1324). It’s one of the oldest cookbooks in Europe from the Catalan region of Spain. Therefore, The conclusion can be made that sofrito has been an ingredient and technique in Catalan cuisine since medieval times. (Andrews, 2006).

    We can see the correlation to sofrito in the derivation of the Catalan word sofregit, which comes from the verb sofrefir, which means to under fry or fry lightly. The Catalan idea of frying lightly meant to fry slowly over a low flame."


    1. Scrofula Dec 30, 2013 11:45 AM

      Depends on what I'm cooking. For Indian food, onions and ginger-garlic are nearly everything, so I guess they form a trinity. I don't usually have carrots, celery or bell peppers around unless I have a specific recipe in mind, so I don't end up making a mirepoix or trinity when I just go into the kitchen and wing it.

      Shallots, leeks and garlic are another combination I sometimes find myself using.

      1. BananaBirkLarsen Dec 30, 2013 11:00 AM

        Unless I'm making something very specific, I tend to mix and match what I have hanging out in the fridge. Almost always onion, with one or two or three others: garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, red or green or yellow bell peppers, chiles, scallions. Whatever will build a nice base of flavour, and whatever will go bad if I don't use it today.

        1. grampart Dec 30, 2013 09:09 AM

          I usually have duxelles on hand. I make a large batch, fill ice cube trays, and store them in freezer bags. Most are used on pizza or as a simple sauce for pasta, but I've been known to throw a couple in a pot of chili, meatballs, and once in a crock pot of red beans.

          1. Veggo Dec 29, 2013 02:50 PM

            I started a thread a few years ago about mirepoix vs. sofrito that got a fairly balanced response. I favor sofrito that is a Uruguay-Puerto Rico hybrid - I use sweet peppers but not cilantro. I think it lends itself to adding more "heat" to a dish than mirepoix, and I often like some heat. Mushrooms are a definite plus with either.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Veggo
              lagatta Dec 29, 2013 03:12 PM

              Does your part-Uruguayan sofrito include flatleaf parsely, as chimichurri does? I believe cilantro is not so popular in Argentina and Uruguay?

              1. re: lagatta
                Veggo Dec 29, 2013 03:22 PM

                I make my chimichurri with flat leaf parsley, but I never use parsley in sofrito. I don't use parsley or cilantro in cooked preparations. Cilantro is far more popular in Central America and Mexico, with the exception of the Argentinian restaurants in Mexico City.

              2. re: Veggo
                Indy 67 Dec 30, 2013 11:12 AM

                Only slightly off topic...

                Recently, I was doing some shopping in Sarasota and I missed the turn off for the shopping center I needed. I turned into the next shopping center when a small sign caught my eye. It listed the names of the stores at the spur of the shopping center, one of which was "Sofrito Mama." It was lunch and I was hungry so I figured any restaurant that called itself by the cornerstone of Puerto Rican cooking was worth a try. Success! If you're ever in Sarasota and looking for a great hole in the wall, give this place a try.


                1. re: Indy 67
                  Veggo Dec 30, 2013 11:19 AM

                  Cool, and cool name! Not far from me, I'll make a note to try it, thanks Indy!

                  1. re: Veggo
                    Indy 67 Dec 30, 2013 03:25 PM

                    I've eaten lunch there twice. Both times I had their delicious Cuban sandwich. The pork in the sandwich is cut from the roast pork they sell as a platter; I believe that sofrito is used to prepare the roast.

                    The second lunch, I shared a decadent wonderful piece of their Tre Leches cake.

                    1. re: Indy 67
                      Veggo Dec 30, 2013 03:56 PM

                      I'm sold! Most local Cuban sandwiches include deli cold cuts. Thanks again.

              3. r
                rasputina Dec 29, 2013 01:52 PM

                ginger garlic paste
                the trinity

                those are my most used

                1 Reply
                1. re: rasputina
                  pine time Dec 30, 2013 08:18 AM


                2. Cherylptw Dec 29, 2013 01:49 PM

                  I use most of these, especially the mirepoix, which I roast in the oven and then puree it and keep it in a jar refrigerated with a splash of olive oil over the top. It's been mentioned on Chow quite a few times. I use it for everything.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Cherylptw
                    fldhkybnva Dec 29, 2013 03:12 PM

                    Wow, that's a great idea!

                  2. fldhkybnva Dec 29, 2013 12:45 PM

                    All of the above, as you mentioned it's a "base" to me it's the foundation on which other flavors stand upon. I use mirepoix and soffrito most often. Sofrito and holy trinity occasionally as I really don't like bell peppers. I've never thought of duxelles in the same category but I saute mushroom and/or stems with herbs and oil at least once a day probably. We're freaks for fungus around here.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                      lagatta Dec 29, 2013 03:17 PM

                      I guess duxelles is a somewhat different category, but I do often use finely-chopped mushrooms, especially the stems, or if I have some slightly dried-out mushrooms in the fridge, in a mirepoix or soffritto type base. It doesn't suit all foods - what does? - but certainly adds depth of flavour to mushroom-friendly ones.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva
                        scubadoo97 Dec 29, 2013 03:20 PM

                        Agreed. These are the building blocks of a dish flavor wise

                        1. re: fldhkybnva
                          Springhaze2 Dec 29, 2013 04:01 PM

                          When you say you don't like bell peppers, do you mean green bell peppers? I am not a fan either, but I do like red or yellow or orange sweet peppers and they make a nice substitution for the green ones. I also think poblano are better than your typical green bell pepper.

                          1. re: Springhaze2
                            fldhkybnva Dec 29, 2013 04:48 PM

                            Yea, green bell peppers mostly. I actually enjoy them if a dish is supposed to taste predominantly of peppers but not in anything else. I like red peppers on occasion but not yellow orange, all too sweet-ish for me. It sounds crazy but I have a low sweet threshold especially with veggies.

                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                              Springhaze2 Dec 29, 2013 07:15 PM

                              I agree with the green peppers. There are some dishes I make that star green peppers and I love them. (particularly a Hungarian pepper and pork dish with potatoes). On the other hand, I usually substitute red peppers for green in a soffrito or Cajun style trinity.

                              1. re: Springhaze2
                                eclecticsynergy Dec 29, 2013 07:57 PM

                                +1 on the green peppers- they really tend to take over a dish.

                            2. re: Springhaze2
                              lagatta Dec 30, 2013 06:06 AM

                              Would "Cubanelle" type peppers (pale green with thin flesh) be better than green bell peppers? I find them much easier to digest - have a hard time digesting green bell peppers. Or some long kind similar to red Hungarian or Portuguese "horn" peppers?

                              1. re: lagatta
                                Veggo Dec 30, 2013 06:55 AM

                                Or Anaheim, they are as mild as Cubanelle.

                                1. re: lagatta
                                  Kelli2006 Dec 30, 2013 12:13 PM

                                  I substitute seeded cubanelles or Poblanos for green bell peppers.

                            3. Shrinkrap Dec 29, 2013 12:45 PM

                              I almost always have a bit of sofrito (the Caribbean one) around, and lately have been using Trini "green seasoning", which is uncooked, and has a lot of cilantro flavor.

                              This one has a whole "BUNDLE" of celery! (see mirepoix thread)


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