Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Holy Trinity of Southern Cooking

The Holy Trinity of Deep South Cooking - onion, sweet bell pepper, celery and sometimes wit da Pope (garlic) - is the building block of many Deep South recipes.

How to Make The Trinity of Cooking

One thing you will see repeated over and over in Deep South cooking is the use of the holy trinity of southern cooking, or just simply "the trinity" - onion, celery and bell pepper - sometimes used in equal amounts, but not always.

My trinity is very often 1 cup (sometimes more) chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped sweet green bell pepper or sometimes red, even yellow or orange, or a combination of two or more and 1/4 cup of chopped celery, because that's the ratio I tend to like the most.

It's simply a combination of aromatic vegetables that are widely used as seasoning vegetables across the south.

Now... some internet sources will (wrongfully) say that the trinity refers to onion, celery and carrots, which is actually a mirepoix and is widely used in soups, even here in the south. The trinity is always onion, bell pepper and celery.

When garlic is included, it is referred to as the trinity with the pope, or in New Orleans vernacular, wit da Pope.

Except for the fact that there is a huge population of Catholics here in The Deep South, I'm not sure how seasoning vegetables got associated with the word trinity, except for the fact that like the Holy Trinity is foundation in our spiritual lives, the seasoning trinity is foundational in our cooking. It probably originated in Cajun and Creole cooking in Louisiana and some folks seem to believe that chef Paul Prudhomme likely popularized its use in the culinary world sometime in the 1970s according to

It is the base of many, if not most, dishes all over The Deep South.

Hardly a southern kitchen is without these three primary ingredients pretty much all the time. Onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic - and they are simply considered a kitchen staple to us.