Variations of the classic ‘Bouquet Garni’ (which literally translates from French into “a garnished bouquet”) have been around since the early 1600’s. This timeless method of infusing casseroles, sauces, stocks, and stews with the aromatic flavors of fresh herbs is a wonderfully simple way to add a new dimension to household favorite recipes.
Traditionally, bundles of fresh herbs were wrapped in cheese cloth, added at the beginning of cooking and removed before serving – allegedly, to prevent dinner guests from discovering the secret ingredient of well-guarded family recipes! These days, bouquet garni are a beloved country kitchen staple and are super easy to make. Simply gather some of your favorite fresh herbs (dried also work) and pop them into a muslin bag.
If you don’t have this on hand, take a spare coffee filter or empty a teabag, place the herbs in the middle of the material, then gather the edges until the herbs are encased and tie at the top with string. Storing pre-made bouquet garni in a sealed container is key to prolonging freshness and aromatic scents… naturally, a classic Bonne Maman jar is surely the most chic option.
Traditional bouquet garni ingredients include parsley, thyme, and bay leaves, but other popular additions include rosemary, lemon peel, fennel leaves, peppercorn and even chilis!