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

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.

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  1. 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)


    1. 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

        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

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

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            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

              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

                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

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

              2. re: Springhaze2

                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

                  Or Anaheim, they are as mild as Cubanelle.

                  1. re: lagatta

                    I substitute seeded cubanelles or Poblanos for green bell peppers.

              3. 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. ginger garlic paste
                  the trinity

                  those are my most used

                  1 Reply
                  1. 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

                      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

                        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

                        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

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

                          1. re: Veggo

                            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

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

                      3. 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. 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. 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. 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."