Table of Contents
What Is Bouquet Garni?
It is a mixture of herbs tied up in cheesecloth with a strand of twine or string, which originated in France. One may use either dried or fresh herbs in a bouquet garni; however, we employ fresh herbs for our recipe.
The bouquet garni imparts herbaceous flavors into a stock, stew, braising liquid without releasing the stems, and sticks into the pot of liquid that this combination of herbs will inevitably produce if they are placed loosely into the liquid. It is easy to make and can be used in various ways.
Use a natural fiber twine or string without color dye so that your stew or braising liquid does not resemble Bridget Jones’ infamous “blue soup!”
How to Use Bouquet Garni
- Toss into a bone stock or broth
- Flavor a stew
- Add it to braising liquid
- Flavor boiled beans or lentils
- Use it in poaching fish or chicken
- Throw it into a pot to flavor rice, quinoa, or farro
Fresh vs. Dried Herbs
We use fresh herbs for our bouquet garni recipe; however, you may also use dried herbs as an alternative. Use less dried herbs in comparison to fresh herbs because dried herbs contain a more concentrated flavor. As a guideline, use 1/2 teaspoon of each dried herb.
If you employ fresh herbs for your bouquet garni, we suggest preparing the bouquet garni at the time of use. Nonetheless, if you choose to use dried herbs, you may prepare the bouquet garni ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in a cool dark place. You must use it within two months of preparation.
5 Typical Ingredients for Bouquet Garni
- Bay Leaves
- Flatleaf Parsley
- Black Peppercorns
More Herbs for Bouquet Garni
We chose bay leaves, rosemary, flatleaf parsley, thyme, and black peppercorns for our recipe. However, the following green herbs will also make great additions to a bouquet garni:
How to Cut the Cheesecloth
Cheesecloth was originally used to strain the water from cheese but now is used in a variety of ways. For bouquet garni, we use the cheesecloth to prevent the sticks and branches of the herbs from being released into the pot of liquid.
The more layers of cheesecloth, the more effective the cheesecloth will be in holding the herbs together and preventing them from releasing unwanted materials. We recommend that you use three to four layers of cheesecloth to ensure the herbs are bound into the bouquet.
Cut the cheesecloth into large squares that can be layered on top of one another or in a long rectangle that can be folded over several times to create layers. Then, add the fresh herbs to the center of the square and tie up the bouquet into a bundle with twine or string.
Noteworthy Recipes to Try
The following recipes employ the use of bouquet garni to gently impart flavor:
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 handful flatleaf parsley leaves
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 5 peppercorns
1. Cut Cheesecloth in Large Square or Long Rectangle
- Cut the cheesecloth into large squares (large enough to hold all the herbs) or a long rectangle.
- Layer three to four squares on top of each other or fold the cheesecloth three to four times to create three to four cheesecloth layers.
2. Lie Cheesecloth Flat
- Lie the layered cheesecloth on a flat surface.
3. Place Herbs in the Center of the Cheesecloth Square
- Place the herbs in the center of the cheesecloth square.
4. Tie Bouquet Garni with String or Twine
- Cut a strand of string or twine.
- Tie up the bouquet garni with a strand of string or twine.