What is Bouquet Garni? How to Use Bouquet Garni

This is the internationally used French name for what in English we also call a ‘bundle of sweet herbs’ or a ‘faggot of herbs’. The herbs are tied together so that they can be removed at the end of cooking or when sufficient flavour has been imparted to the dish. The same result is obtained by tying the herbs in a piece of muslin, and this allows spices, orange peel or garlic to be included. In peasant cooking the herbs are often just thrown in. It is correct however to remove these signs of good cooking. The cook who does not habitually use some sort of bouquet garni is probably not worthy of being called a cook, and it really will not do to substitute commercial ‘mixed herbs’ or powdered bouquet garni from a packet.

What is Bouquet Garni? How to Use Bouquet Garni Photo Gallery

The classic bouquet garni consists of three stalks of parsley to a small sprig of thyme and a small bay leaf. In Provence, it would also include a piece of dried orange peel. These proportions must, however, be flexible because in herbs we are not dealing with a standard commodity. A glance through the literature also reveals a surprising number of mixtures which could be called a bouquet garni. ‘2 sprigs of parsley, one of orange or lemon thyme, and a bay leaf’. Or ‘2 sprigs of parsley, one of sweet marjoram, one of winter savory, and one of lemon thyme’, even ‘a few sprigs of parsley, a sprig of thyme, a sprig of marjoram, a bay leaf, a sprig of basil, a celery leaf, a small piece of cinnamon stick, a clove of garlic, a small blade of mace, and a pod of red pepper’. This last seems over-elaborate and is from a Victorian recipe.

The bouquet garni is essentially one of the things this blog is about. It is something one must experiment with if one wishes to create dishes with one’s own individual stamp.

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