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 a 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 lemon grass
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…
If you are cooking for 20 people, I find this recipe interesting:
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
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From the Corner of My Home – Spice Up Your Life with Herbs and Spices