Now that you’ve got decent knives in your kitchen and the right-sized cutting board, let’s start with some basics!
I was not always good with kitchen knives. Like a lot of people, I had an inexpensive set a family member had given me. It worked okay until the knives lost their edge. I had no idea about sharpening them, and rarely did. When I started getting more serious about cooking, I bought a higher-quality paring knife. It worked great until it lost its edge. So I bought a different paring knife, which I tried to use for all my chopping tasks. I didn’t know that paring knives are used about 20% of the time, with the chef’s knife doing about 80% of the work. I was scared of chef’s knives.
After I started my food blog I really needed to up my game. I learned the technique you see here in my late 40s, after cooking for more than 30 years! I took a class, watched chefs on tv, and practiced, practiced, practiced. Once I put that time in, I have found that chopping vegetables is one of my favorite things, a mindfulness meditation.
Rather than just show you how to chop some random vegetables, in this video you’ll end up with mirepoix. Mirepoix, a French cooking term, doesn’t actually mean anything in French. Instead, it’s named for—get this—the cook of the aristocrat (the Duke of Mirepoix) who brought the sauce into fashion. It’s a mixture of onion, carrot, and celery, usually cooked in butter.
Since onions are a big migraine trigger for a lot of people, we don’t use them in our recipes. Instead, we use green onions which don’t usually cause problems. In the next video, I’ll show you what I did with that particular batch of mirepoix.
In case you were wondering:
- The batonnet measures approximately 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch x 2-2.5 inches (6mm x 6mm x 5–6 cm). It is also the starting point for the small dice.
- Sometimes also called the “matchstick cut”, the julienne measures approximately 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 1-2 inches (3mm × 3mm × 3–5 cm).