Bouquet Garni

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Bundle your favorite herbs to add rich flavors to stews, soups and meats

Long ago in the Deep South, the greens we all associate with our culture were called “pot herbs.” Fragrant and flavorful, used in a mix or alone, greens were often the only vegetable that could be counted on all year long and provided vital nutritional benefits. Greens still hold a powerful place on our plates. As we descend into the winter months, greens will be abundant at winter farmers markets. We still can rely on pot herbs to make meals delicious!

What is it: A bundle of aromatic herbs and sometimes vegetables that are used to enhance the flavor of soups, stews, stocks, poaching liquids and even braised dishes. It is removed after cooking and can be made with either fresh or dried herbs.

Pot herbs are a bundle of aromatic herbs and sometimes vegetables that are used to enhance the flavor of soups, stews, stocks, poaching liquids and even braised dishes. It is removed after cooking and can be made with either fresh or dried herbs.

How to make: If using fresh herbs, tie them together with cooking twine. Or you can make a sachet by placing the fresh loose or dried herbs in cheesecloth squares tied with string to make a bag. This makes it easy to retrieve and discard at the end of cooking. Cut a 7-inch square of cheesecloth and add ingredients. Bring up corners, and tie securely.

Bouquet garni recipe 1 (traditional pot herbs): Bay leaf, thyme and parsley Fun additions: Fennel seeds, garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, tarragon, chervil

Bouquet garni recipe 2: Tie up 6 sprigs fresh oregano or marjoram; 1 serrano pepper, halved; 2 cloves garlic, sliced; the peel from one lemon cut in long, wide strips; and 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns.

Bouquet garni recipe 3: Tie up 2 sprigs each fresh parsley and thyme; 2 bay leaves; a 1-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced; 3 inches stick cinnamon; and ½ teaspoon each whole black peppercorns and coriander seeds.


Beef Stew

Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients:
  • 3 pounds beef rump roast, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups chicken or beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in large pieces
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 2 turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 12 mushrooms, sliced
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
Instructions:
  1. Place the beef in a large zip-top bag and add the salt and wine. Close and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Place 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the marinade, reserving the marinade. When the oil is hot, add half of the beef and brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter and add the remaining oil to the pot. When hot, repeat with the remaining beef.
  2. Place the bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and garlic in a 6-inch square piece of cheesecloth. Grab the corners to make a pouch and tie together with cooking twine to make bouquet garni. Return all the meat, reserved marinade, stock and bouquet garni to the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil and boil gently for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the carrots, onions, turnips and mushrooms to the cooking pot. Cover and place in the oven for 11
    /2 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before garnishing with parsley and serving warm.

Lamb Stew

Serving:
Yield: 6–8 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 large sprig fresh mint
  • 1 large sprig fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut in wedges
  • 1½cups English peas
Instructions:
  1. Tie the rosemary, mint and sage together with cooking twine and set aside. Place the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the lamb and cook, stirring occasionally to brown on all sides. Sprinkle with the flour and sugar and stir to evenly coat. Cook 3 minutes. Add the bouquet garni, wine, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Add enough water to just cover the lamb. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 1 hour.
  2. After 45 minutes, place the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When melted, add the carrots, turnips and onions. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add to the lamb mixture along with the peas. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes longer. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Serve warm.

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Yield: 8–10 servings
Ingredients:
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley with the stems reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (44½ pound) chicken
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces
  • ½ pound parsnips, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3 teaspoons salt
Instructions:
  1. Cut a 5-by-5-inch piece of cheesecloth and place the peppercorns, thyme, parsley stems and bay leaf in the center. Tie into a bundle with cooking twine. Add to a large Dutch oven along with the chicken (breast side down), onions, carrots, parsnips, garlic and salt. Add enough water to completely cover the ingredients. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Partially cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 35 minutes or until the chicken is done. Routinely skim any foam that accumulates on the surface.
  2. Remove from the heat and remove the chicken into a shallow dish to cool. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Skim any fat from the top of the soup. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bones and cut into bite-sized pieces. Discard bones and skin. Return the chicken to the soup and place over medium heat. Add more salt if necessary. When thoroughly heated, add the chopped parsley and serve warm.

Roasted Pork Loin

Ingredients:
  • 8 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 2 sprigs celery leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (5-pound) pork loin
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a 7-by-7-inch piece of cheesecloth and place the parsley, celery leaves, thyme, bay leaves and garlic in the center. Tie into a bag with cooking twine. Place in the bottom of a large roasting pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Add the onions and carrots and pour the water on the top. Set aside.
  2. Coat all sides of the pork with the flour and place on top of the vegetables with the fat side up. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast uncovered for 21
    /2 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. Increase the heat to 400 degrees and sprinkle the brown sugar on the top of the pork. Roast another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to stand at least 15 minutes before slicing. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Serve warm with the vegetables and pan juices.

Sticky Beef Ribs

Ingredients:
  • 68 servings
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 4½ pounds beef spare ribs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup Juice of
  • ½ large lemon
Instructions:
  1. Place the peppercorns, cloves, cumin and fennel in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 12 minutes, shaking the pan to toast. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a powder. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and add the paprika, salt, cinnamon, ginger, oil and garlic. Rub all over the ribs and cover with foil. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease a roasting pan and transfer the ribs to the pan. Roast for 44½ hours or until the meat is tender. After 1 hour, add a cup of hot water to the pan and mix with the pan juices. Baste the meat all over and repeat the basting every hour.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together the honey, brown sugar, maple syrup and lemon juice and set aside. Remove the ribs from the oven and increase the heat to 450 degrees. Drain the cooking liquid and reserve for another use. Evenly pour over the ribs to coat and roast for 15 minutes, basting every 5 minutes. Serve warm.
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About Author

Tammy Algood

Originally from Starkville, Miss., Tammy Algood has a Bachelor’s of Science from Mississippi State University and a Master’s from Middle Tennessee State University. She writes about food for The Tennessean and monthly for The Tennessee Magazine. Broadcast appearances include Nashville’s local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates as well as statewide on PBS. Tammy can also be seen nationally on the HGTV and DIY networks.

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