A bouquet garni is a small bundle of fresh herbs held together by a string and used for stews, casseroles, soups and sauces. The small, flavourful bouquets highlight the taste of the other ingredients in the dish, and then they bring a nice aroma to the kitchen. But even though bouquet garni is popularly used in the Danish kitchens, this tasty cooking trick is neither new nor Danish.
The origins of bouquet garni
Bouquet garni originally stems from the French kitchen and can be dated back to the 1600’s. The tendency of mixing delicate herbs was a new move in French cooking that parted with the heavily spiced and saucy medieval dishes. Instead, a more sophisticated approach to cooking was found, focusing on balanced, delicate tastes and local spices and herbs. Throughout the 18th century, bouquet garni became an integrated part of the French kitchen. And even though other countries had used similar bundles of herbs in cooking since the medieval times, a proper name had not yet caught on. Therefore, the French term was adopted to also include these variations of the herb bundles.
How to use bouquet garni
The herbs are put together based on their ability to let the taste develop in dishes with longer cooking time. Add the herb bundle early on and cook it with the other ingredients. The longer it cooks, the more taste it adds. Remember to remove the bouquet before serving. Bouquet garni adds a lovely, spicy taste to anything from soups and sauces to stews with longer cooking time, but is also great for seafood.
Although there is no strict recipe for the bouquet, the original French version consists of thyme, parsley and bay leaves. However, you can always put together your favourite herbs depending on the dish you are cooking. As an example, both rosemary and sage goes well together with the other herbs in the bouquet.
In doubt which herbs work well together? Read our blog post on mixing herbs and become an expert yourself!