Learning how to make bouquet garni seasoning is an easy French cooking technique that can add spectacular flavor to all sorts of foods, from the French cuisine to soups and slow-cooked dishes.
Photos via CakeSpy
Assembling the aromatic bouquet of flavorings is simple, and can be done using fresh or dried herbs. Once it’s made, we’ll guide you through several ideas for how to use bouquet garni. Your taste buds will thank you.
What is bouquet garni, exactly?
Here’s a mini French lesson: bouquet garni translates as “garnished bouquet.” While the fresh herb version may resemble a mini bouquet of fresh flowers, it’s actually a bundle of aromatic herbs, tied together with string or assembled in a small sachet, and used to flavor soup, stock or stew. Once the cooking is complete, they are removed, having done their work. While there are many variations on the makeup of bouquet garni, common components include bay leaves, thyme, parsley, basil, chervil, rosemary, peppercorns and tarragon.
How to make bouquet garni seasoning with fresh herbs
- Several fresh whole bay leaves, thyme sprigs and parsley; optional additions include sprigs of basil, chervil, rosemary or tarragon — decide which flavors will work best with whatever dish you’re making.
- Kitchen twine
Gather your herbs. Start with the whole bay leaves, thyme and parsley (one or two sprigs of each will do). If you’re adding other herbs, add them to the mix, too.
Assemble the herbs into a little bouquet, as if they were fresh-cut flowers. Now, tie them snugly with kitchen twine. Go around a few times so everything is secure. If in doubt, wrap it around a few more times, as the herbs can loosen once added to hot or simmering ingredients.
Note: You may find that bay leaves most typically come well, as just leaves, no sprig or twig attached. Don’t panic — the leaves can be gently wrapped around and tied with the other herbs.
If you are worried about pieces of herbs falling into your dish, you can also gather the herbs and wrap them in cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Tie with twine to “seal” the parcel before proceeding. One benefit of doing this is that you can also pop a few peppercorns in the little parcel.
Drop the entire little bouquet in a stew, soup or simmering dish. Remove the herbs before serving. It will impart a bouquet of flavor and aroma to your dish.
How to make bouquet garni with dried herbs
- 1 or 2 crumbled bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- Peppercorns, or ½ tablespoon any of the other herbs mentioned above, in dried form
- Small piece of cheesecloth, a coffee filter or an empty tea bag
- Kitchen twine
In a medium bowl, mix the herbs until combined. Place in the center of a piece of cheesecloth, an empty tea bag, or in the center of a coffee filter. Tie kitchen twine around to ensure that the little parcel is well contained.
Toss the sachet in your recipe. Remove before serving. Enjoy.
Minestrone soup via Domenica Marchetti
How to use bouquet garni
Some recipes will help you out to the point of calling for bouquet garni. However, you can use this flavorful bundle to add flavor to a variety of different dishes.
Soups were practically made for bouquet garni, as the slow simmering of the liquid is perfect for infusing flavor. Looking for soup recipes? Craftsy has you covered with two courses: Building Flavorful Soups and Authentic Italian Soups: From Broth to Bowl.
Likewise, slow-cooked dishes, such as boeuf bourguignon, get a wonderful aromatic dimension from the addition of the herbs. how You can also bouquet garni to the liquid when braising meats such as chicken or beef. If you’re curious about slow cooking, the Bluprint course Secrets of Slow Cooking: Mastering the Braise is well worth checking out.