Whether you are classically trained or attribute your culinary prowess to Rachel Ray, you have probably started every soup or stock you’ve ever made with a mirepoix. Dicing up carrots, onion, and celery for a first step saute is something I have for sure repeated countless times. And although I know the balance of these ingredients produces a great first level of flavor, I can’t think of a single time the colorful mix was on my mind at the time of enjoying the final product. This seemingly mandatory blend of vegetables acts as the unsung hero to many a dish; only praised through a repetition of use.
So when I received a butternut squash and a beautiful stalk of celery this past week in the CSA, I felt it was time to give arguably the least appreciated of the trio its due respect. Because when you think celery, there isn’t a whole lot that comes to mind. Covered in peanut butter for a snack, or dipped in blue cheese as a hot sauce reprieve, celery is typically used as a carrier. But when you take the time to carmelize and cook down the subtleties of the celery, the burst of flavor is truly fantastic.
And in this case, combined with the roasted butternut squash and curry seasonings, the burst provided a delicious upgrade. A soup that can sometimes be a bit one note was transformed into what I will describe (dramatically of course) as a bridge between the seasons. And since my CSA continues to pump out some fantastic produce, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise! So next time you are cooking up that mirepoix, maybe go a little heavy on that celery!
And while you are waiting for that soup to simmer, make sure you vote for my chinese food re-do!