A Bouquet Garni ('garnished bouquet' in French) is a small bunch of fresh or dry herbs which are used to flavour stocks and stews.
Traditionally a bouquet garni contains a few sprigs of parsley, thyme, and a bay leaf, but you can change it to taste, mix it up, whatever you want (well, not quite, but you get the point). You'll often see instructions tell you to wrap the herbs in a stick of celery, or a piece of leek, but I can't say I've ever bothered!
It's really hard to get wrong, but the point of it is to season your dish; not overpower it. I generally use what I have in my garden and know will compliment whatever recipe i'm making.
So, my 'recipe' for a bouquet garni goes something like this:
YOU WILL NEED:
- 2 sprigs of parsley
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- a bay leaf (dry or fresh, it doesn't really matter)
- a sprig of rosemary
- a few inches of kitchen string
Now these are the steps - focus hard:
- 1. Bring the herbs together in a bunch
- 2. Tie together using the kitchen string
I use fresh herbs. If you're using dry herbs, wrap them up in a piece of cheese cloth or muslin and tie the opening up with string.
You can really add or remove what you like. I often don't have parsley, so I just leave it out. If I have some fresh oregano, I often throw it in. Unorthodox, I suppose, but it tastes good, so who cares?