A bouquet garni is a great addition to soups and stews, adding a mild herb flavor. It consists of aromatics (ingredients that provide a pleasing aroma and flavor) that can be easily contained within a tied leek leaf. As a bundle, it becomes easy to remove while cooking just in case the flavor becomes too strong.
Some recipes such as Pho Ga (Chicken Pho) have herbs and spices that can’t be tied up such as black peppercorns or coriander seeds. It’s best to use a sachet for these recipes instead of a bouquet garni.
- 1 large Leek Leaf
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4-5 ea Parsley Stems
- 4-5 Small strips of celery (cut about the same width as a parsley stem)
- A couple small sprigs of thyme
1. Cut a large rectangle out of the white section of the leek leaf.
2. Cut 4-5 parsley stems about the same length as the leek leaf.
3. Cut a section of celery about the same length and cut down into strips about the same width as the parsley stems. You’ll want to keep ~4-5 strips.
4. Lay the parsley stems, celery, bay leaf, and thyme on the leek leaf. Tie snug with butcher’s twine. Leeks are surprisingly resilient so make sure it’s wrap tight enough that the ingredients don’t fall out.
If you don’t have any butcher’s twine on hand, don’t just substitute any old piece of string or yarn you have laying around. Butcher’s twine is great for cooking because it doesn’t shed fibers into your food unlike regular string. It also doesn’t give off any dyes or coloring like yarn.
If you are hesitant about spending money on string, try asking the meat counter at your local grocery store if they’ll give you some for free. One time I ran out on Thanksgiving and I didn’t want to cook my poor turkey without trussing it. I asked the butcher and they gave me enough to truss Thanksgiving turkeys for the next couple years!