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"...then you add the Holy Trinity"

posted Mar 1, 2014, 9:10 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Mar 1, 2014, 9:38 AM ]
In French cuisine, a mirepoix is a chopped mixture of celery, onion, and carrot used as an aromatic condiment when making sauce or braising meat. Louisiana, the oldest Roman Catholic region here in the U.S., borrowed the term “Holy Trinity” for its variation of onion, celery and bell pepper. Many dishes start with “First you make a roux, then you add the Holy Trinity…”

Served over rice, crawfish étouffée is made with a blond roux to which a little tomato sauce is added. The name comes from the French word meaning "smother," which is an apt description of the cooking process.

Gumbo traces its origins back to Caribbean fish stews. Always made with sausage, Louisiana Creole gumbo usually adds shellfish, while Cajun gumbo has a darker roux and often adds chicken. Its name derives from one of its two most common thickeners, okra (ki ngombo in African Bantu) or filé (kombo in Native American Choctaw.)

Resembling paella, jambalaya takes its name from the Spanish word for ham, jamón. Creole cuisine, typically heavy on tomatoes uses a roux to make jambalaya, while the roux-happy Cajuns make theirs with a tomato base! In addition to ham, it can have sausage, fresh pork, chicken, oysters, shrimp, or crawfish. Gonzalez, LA sponsors an annual Jambalaya Festival, and is considered the Jambalaya Capital of the World!

Of course, all cuisines have their version of the “Holy Trinity”: Portuguese refogado is onion, garlic and tomato; Italian soffritto is onion, garlic and celery. German suppengrün and Dutch soepgroente both consist of leek, carrot and celeriac. Literally meaning “Italian stuff,” Polish włoszczyzna consists of carrot, parsley, leek, celery, and sometimes even cabbage leaves.