Whether you're a rookie or an expert with sauces , one staple you won't be able to go without is the bouquet garni , a small bunch of classic French herbs used to infuse many European sauces, stews, and soups — as well as important holiday roasts. I know that they can be bought ready-made , but in my opinion, the notion goes against common sense. Why would you buy them when they are cheaper, easier, and most importantly, more flavorful when you make them on your own? If you haven't made a bouquet garni before, it only takes a few minutes. Keep reading to learn how to create your own.
There are hundreds of ingredient variations for a bouquet garni, but the most classic combination is parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Other common inclusions are herbs such as rosemary, chervil, or tarragon, or aromatic vegetables like carrot and celery.
You'll need some equipment to start off with, such as kitchen twine and scissors.
The string will be wrapped around two leek leaves; however, if you have cheesecloth on hand, you can create a pouch with that instead, and secure with kitchen twine.
Begin by washing a leek leaf and sectioning it off to be about three to four inches long.
Open the leaf and place the bay leaf inside.
Next, place the washed fresh thyme, branches and all, on top of the bay leaf.
Nestle fresh parsley on top of the other herbs. I like to include it last because it's the leafiest.
Fold the leek in half, along its natural curve.
Use another three- to four-inch section of leek, to close the bouquet.
Wrap the outer leek section tightly, creating a neat herb packet.
Cut about 16 inches of kitchen twine with scissors, and wrap the twine around the packet.
Secure ends of twine tightly with a knot, so herbs will not fall out.
Using scissors, trim the loose ends of the twine hanging off of the knot.
You'll be left with a compact herb sachet that can be used (preferably sooner rather than later) for French sauces or stews.