Variations of the classic ‘Bouquet Garni’, which literally translates from French into “a garnished bouquet” have been around since the early 1600’s – traditionally combining parsley, thyme and bay. The timeless method of infusing casseroles, sauces, stocks and stews with the aromatic flavours of fresh herbs is a wonderfully simple way to add a new dimension to household favourite 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 much-loved country kitchen staple and are super easy to make – simply gather some of your favourite fresh herbs (dried also work) and pop them into a muslin bag.
If you don’t have this to hand, take a spare coffee filter or empty a teabag, simply place the herbs in the middle of the material, then gather 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 chicest option.
Traditional bouquet garni ingredients include parsley, thyme and bay, but other popular additions include rosemary, lemon peel, fennel leaves, peppercorn and even chilli!