A Bouquet Garni is a flavoring herb blend using at least 3 different but compatible herbs. The herbs, perhaps with some spices like cloves and pepper corns included, are tied up in bundles to use in casseroles, soups or stews.
Choose herbs that are compatible with whatever you are cooking, just as you would in any recipe.
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons dried instant minced onion
1 tablespoon dried celery leaves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon marjoram leaves
10 whole black pepper corns
Twine or Kitchen String
In a pinch, for those moments when you run out of cheesecloth, use a coffee filter.
Here's another version:
(French) Fresh parsley, thyme, celery and a bay leaf wrapped in layers of leek and tied with string into a firm parcel.
One end of the string is often kept long, as your bouquet garni is inserted into pots of stock (water plus meat bones), and removed at the end of cooking.
In her recipe for Potee Normande or Pot-Au-Feu, Julia Child includes cloves also.
Each recipe for a Herb Bouquet is slightly different than someone else’s and for each particular dish.
Julia’s (I call her by her first name because I am so bold – and because I have had her cookbook, The French Chef Cookbook, since 1968. Surely that puts us on a first name basis, don't you agree?) well, Julia's herb bouquet calls for:
8 sprigs of fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons thyme
Tie up in washed cheesecloth.
Laurus Nobilis, or Bay leaves, which are used in many herb bundles, besides being used in are also used in French and American cooking. Picked fresh, the flavor is not as good as when dried, unlike many other culinary herbs that are used both fresh and dried with good results either way.
For soups or stews, when using bay leaves on their own, I may use 1 large leaf or 2 or 3 small ones. if my bay leaves are large I usually break them up put them in a muslim bag or wrap them in a little bundle as with other herb bundles. That’s to make it easy to remove them when you choose and before serving.
Jarfuls of dried Bouquet Garni in their fresh white cheesecloth wraps make humble but appreciated gifts for any cook or foodie friend.
I was given Julia Child's cookbook, The French Chef, for my birthday when I was 21. My mom was an excellent cook and baker making great meals a regular in our home so I knew a fair bit about cooking but the arrival of Julia Child into my life opened new vistas. I read her like a good novel. Therefore when my parents spent a winter vacation visiting family in Florida a few weeks later I jumped at the opportunity to indulge myself in the kitchen.
At 21, a virtual novice to French cooking, I carefully selected Canard A L'Orange (Roast Duck with Orange Sauce) as my entry performance. I would cook for my sister and her husband. So began a few days of preparation.
Timing is everything to bring this dish to the table with perfection.
I did it - yes, to perfection. And then waited and waited for my sister and her husband to show up. Finally, after fretting in the kitchen, pacing back and forth in the living room as I anxiously watched out the window for their arrival, I phoned them.
Where are you? I wailed into the phone.
I had done everything - absolutely everything - to perfection from shopping to the linen covered tablecloth.
Everything, except invite my guests.
They were there in 10 minutes.
The Canard A L'Orange, with it's accompaniments and wine, was a culinary delight.
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