A bouquet garni is simply a small “bouquet” of fresh herbs that you pop into a broth, soup, or stew for seasoning as it cooks. A staple in French dishes from boeuf bourguignon to bouillabaisse, the bouquet garni adds rich flavoring without leaving wilted herbs behind. Think of it as a savory tea bag. Here are two ways to make your own:
Photography by Erin Boyle.
Above: Traditionally a bouquet garni is made with Mediterranean staples like bay leaf, thyme, sage, rosemary, and parsley. But it can include whatever herbs your recipe calls for.
Above: The first technique involves tying the herbs in a bundle. I began by making a pile with a few stems of each fresh herb I wanted to use.
Above: Next, I tied up the stems with kitchen string. If you’re concerned about leaves coming loose, wrap your bouquet in several spots. A ball of cotton Household and Charcuterie Twine is $2 from Kaufmann Mercantile.
Above: The second approach, which uses cheesecloth, is best if you’re including small spices, like peppercorns or dried hot peppers. You can get 2 square yards of Unbleached Cheesecloth for $7.06 from Casa.
Above: I cut off a small square of cheesecloth and placed my herbs in the center of it.
Above: Then I tied together the corners of the cheesecloth and wrapped the ends with string so the bag would stay secure when plunked into the boiling liquid.
Above: Et voilí ! After the dish has finished cooking, lift the bouquet out of the pot and squeeze it to release any extra flavor.
For advice on storing fresh herbs, see 5 Beautiful Ways to Make Fresh Herbs Last Longer. And for another way to use bundled herbs, see Modern Pot Pourri: How to Dry Your Own Scented Herbs.
This is updated from a post originally published June 5, 2013.