Some of my friends know that I love reading recipes. Yes, it is what I do during my downtime. And of course, with a cup of coffee in hand. Recently, I came across the word – bouquet garni. What a pretty name this is but I have no idea what was it precisely. Do you? Well, let’s find out the definition of bouquet garni. I will also share with you how to make your own and use it to cook delectable dishes like a trained chef.
Let’s get started.
What is a Bouquet Garni
When you google “bouquet garni”, it will tell you this – it is a French word, literally means garnished bouquet.
It is a bundle of herbs, typically tied together with a string. Thus the word bouquet? Yes, it makes sense, doesn’t it?
Bouquet garni is mainly used in slow-cooking dishes such as stew, soup, casserole and stock. The flavour of the herbs is drawn out by the simmering liquids.
In most French recipes, the typical combination of herbs includes thyme, bay leaf and parsley. This does not mean that you cannot include herbs such as basil, rosemary, tarragon among others. More on bouquet garni recipes later. Stay with me.
Why waste time tying the herbs? By doing this, it will make your task easier removing the herbs before serving. You do not want the herbs to be seen floating around when serving your family or guests, do you? Or having to remove the herbs themselves while eating.
I do have a couple of family members who complained about this. Even a tiny piece of bay leaf.
Personally, I would rather spend a bit of time tying the herbs than frustratingly fishing out the leaves. Counting the number of leaves or the sprig that need to be taken out is not what you want to do. What do you think?
Now, let’s look at
How to Make Your Own Bouquet Garni
It is pretty simple and straight forward making your own.
Here are 4 simple steps
- Gather your herbs. Let’s start with the classic French herb recipe.
- 3 sprigs of parsley
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 piece of bay leaf
2. Tie them up. Use cooking twine to tie the herbs together. Remember to leave one end of the string length longer so that you can easily remove it from the pot.
3. Optional step: Encase the bundle. Wrap the bundle with a piece of muslin cloth. Secure the sachet with cooking twine. Again, remember to leave one piece of the string long enough for easy removal.
Why should you consider including this optional step?
The thyme leaves will usually fall off the stem during cooking. If using a bouquet garni to enhance the flavour of cooking stock or clear soup, you do not want to see tiny pieces of leaves swimming around.
Should you wish to spice up your dish, including peppercorns into the sachet will be most convenient. Also, lemon or orange peel is another ingredient to zest up a dish.
Do not have fresh herbs. You can always substitute with dried herbs. In this case, the sachet comes in handy. Perfect for the job.
4. Lastly, you can now add the bouquet garni into the pot and get ready for that impeccable dish with herbaceous awesomeness. Of course, remove the bouquet before serving.
Isn’t it simple to make your own bouquet garni? It sure is.
However, when it comes to food pairing, which herbs go into the bundle, you need a bit of experimenting. Furthermore, not all of us share the same food palate.
This may help you get started.
Tips for Creating Your Own
Always bear this in mind – do not overpower your dish with a bouquet garni. In other words, create a complex but smooth and well-balanced flavour that makes your family or guest continue eating without asking much questions.
Being new to using the bouquet garni, I suggest that you start with the classic French combination of parsley, thyme and bay leaf.
Then, you may take the next step changing the proportions to your desired taste.
After which, you can take a step further by adding, omitting or substituting the herbs. There is no right or wrong, just a matter of personal liking.
Additionally, you may use the same combination with different dishes. Try them out!
Make Things Easier for You
Here are the herbs and food pairing to get you started. These bouquet garni recipes will help you pair with the meat of your choice.
Beef => bay leaf, parsley and thyme wrapped in an outer piece of leek
Pork => sage, celery, parsley, and thyme
Lamb => rosemary, garlic, oregano or marjoram, and thyme
Poultry => parsley, bay, tarragon, and bruised lemongrass
Fish => parsley, tarragon, thyme, and a strip of lemon peel
Vegetables => oregano, thyme, parsley and sage
Go on, let your creativity shine!
Now that you know what is a bouquet garni, you will never miss out the amazing flavours and cooking aroma.
As a home cook, you must be looking for ways to enhance the flavour of the dishes and make them more interesting for your family to enjoy. Add a bouquet garni! Herbs impart palatable flavours and it is an easy way to add depth to the dishes.
Furthermore, herbs are nutritious and beneficial to health. Click here to read more about the health benefits of herbs and spices.
Start off with the classic parsley, thyme and bay leaf bundle. Thereafter, use your magic creating your own using the above herbs and food pairing guide. Bouquet garni is not a recipe, but a French cooking method. Therefore, no rules to follow but follow your taste buds.
Good to Know – You Can Freeze Bouquet Garni
Although you can do so, it is strongly recommended to use fresh herbs fresh. Freezing will cause changes to the cell structure of the herbs thus flavours will be lost.
I understand that you may at times have leftover fresh herbs. And freezing is the way to at least prolong the herbs for a few days.
Should you intend to use the prepared bouquet garni in the next couple of days, you may use an Herb Keeper and store in the refrigerator.
For a longer period of days, wrap the bundles tightly with a plastic wrap and place them in freezer bags or freezer containers preventing dehydration.
Again, it is best to use them fresh. If stored, they are good for 3 – 5 days.
There are many ways to use fresh herbs. Click here to find out how to make a healthy smoothie using fresh herbs in 5 simple steps, without following any recipes.
Top Recipes using Bouquet Garni
I will leave you with a few recipes using a bouquet garni. Try them and use it as a guide to adjust the proportion or types of herbs and spices to your liking. Let me know how it goes…
Pork Chop with Cider and Apples
If you are cooking for 20 people, I find this recipe interesting:
Wild Salmon with English Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce
Please Leave a Comment
Do you have a secret bundle of herbs to share? Willing to share – please do at the comments section below.
If you are new to this, knowing the definition of bouquet garni and how easy it is to make your own, will you start using it to enhance your dishes? I am pretty sure you will. Tell me how you feel. Who doesn’t want to impress their guest with nutritious gourmet meals?
Any experiences using the bouquet garni, please feel free to share. I look forward to your comments.
Consider growing your own Herbs
I know you love having fresh herbs all year round for your cooking. Besides, you can use them to make simple home remedies. Why not grow your own? Read all articles related to growing your own herbs.
Share This Article
If you find this blog post interesting, please share it with anyone that you think might find it useful. Thank you and have a good day!
From the Corner of My Home – Spice Up Your Life with Herbs and Spices
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22 Replies to “If You Don’t Know What is a Bouquet Garni, You’ll Lose a Lot of Amazing Flavours”
Thanks for clarifying what exactly is a Bouquet garni. I love preparing meals and often look for better ways to favour my food.
I have tended to use dry herbs and spices in the paste, as I wasn’t too sure how to flavour my food with fresh herbs and not have to scoop anything out, like the leaves.
But now, I will give this a try. Thanks
I am glad this is of help. Should you need to find out how to substitute dried herbs with fresh or vice versa, here is an article explaining how to.
Using herbs and spices to flavour your dishes is most healthy. Good to know you are doing so.
I have never heard of this specific mix of herbs called bouquet garni. I will follow your advice and use it to some of my French recipes such as chicken roasted in salt. I am often bored with just using thyme all the time so this might be the change I need.
Do you think fresh herbs are the best?
Personally, I love fresh herbs. Especially from the garden to pot. The scent is surely better. I have basil and mint plants a few steps from my kitchen. Now, trying to get the thyme growing using sprigs I bought from the grocer. Should you want to try growing your own, find out how here.
Oh, let me know how your dish turned out. Surely, it tastes much better.
Hello Sharon thanks for your article of bouquet garni, it was a lovely read. I must say I do use some of those leaves or herbs you mentioned on beef but it always breaks down and leaves falling, and me having to take my time to pick out every broken leave one by one. It never occurred to me to just tie the herbs together. So thanks again for this
You are most welcome, Nathaniel. Glad this helped. Besides tying the herbs, wrap the herbs together with some spices in a muslin cloth. I am sure your dish will be bursting with flavours… yummy.
Thanks for making me know what bouquet garni is. That’s very good for health and I like it. There is nothing like root and herbs when it comes to what we eat it what we ingest. Root and herbs are of so many medicinal value and nutritional value. It enrich our body system and providing so much antioxidants which kick off unhealthy substances in our body.
You are absolutely correct, Kenechi. There is much medicinal and nutritional value in herbs and spices. We should use them as much as we can. Thanks for commenting.
This is actually my first time of hearing “BOUQUET GARNI” also. You have really done a very great job by introducing this wonderful natural flavor to us. I will definitely bookmark this page and show my wife, so she could include this flavor in our meals. From your analysis about it, i am already anxious to get it. Please could you be posting more of this similar stuff frequently on your website because am greatly interested in reading and practicalizing stuffs like this. Thanks in anticipation
I am delighted by your positive feedback. Many thanks. I hope your wife likes this idea of using a bouquet garni to enhance the dishes. Do visit this site periodically for more interesting articles on herbs and spices.
Thank you very much for sharing with us. If I did not read this blog I wouldn’t have known about Bouquet Garni. This blog will be very helpful. I just learn how to use a bundle of herbs in cooking dishes. I will try them for stews and casseroles. Definitely, share this blog with my friends.
Glad this has help you put more flavours to your dishes. Thanks for commenting, Farhan.
Thanks for this amazing. I am glad you clarify the exact meaning of Bouquet Garni. The truths is i love preparing my food in natural ways. So using dry herbs in my preparing it will be cool. So adding it up. So following your advice will be cool. There is nothing better than adding these herbs in cooking
I am sure you will like the bursting flavours. Enjoy!
This is the first time that I am reading about a bouquet garni. Its good to know about this.. My mum has been doing something similar to this. Although not in the food but separately, she makes a sauce and sieves it in the food. Well I’m so gonna show this to her so she can learn about it
I am sure your mum will like it. Thanks for dropping by.
This definitely looks like something I can put in my vegetable soup to add another dimension to it, or just include them as a vegetable side dish or even salad. I’ve just recently became a vegan and am looking to include more variety of plants in my diet. I live next to a small farmer’s market and I’m pretty sure I can find these ingredients to make Bouquet Garni, that is such a cool name I gotta mention it to my wife and see if she knows what it is. Thanks for the interesting article.
Bouquet Garni is a beautiful name, isn’t it? This is why I looked this up and sharing it here. Share with your wife. She will be happy to know what you know 🙂
Hi! I honestly didn’t know what a bouquet garni was. But now that I know, I’ll immediately implement it. It will boost the taste of my foods.
I’ll start using the classical French combination of herbs (thyme, bay leaf and parsley). Binding the herbs together will indisputably save us time before serving. My family doesn’t like leafs floating in their soup either. LOL.
I really appreciate you have made things easy for us giving this herbs and food pairing. Thank you very much!
You are most welcome, Henry. Always happy to share.
After you are comfortable using the French combination, continue on to try other variations. Get more flavours to your dishes.
What an amazing article, I have always used these combinations in my home cooked meal but I never knew that they actually had an official name to them. I was looking for a combination of herbs for my lamb chops and I am sure glad I ran into this. Thanks again!
A flavourful lamp chop I see coming. Thanks for dropping by, Huy.