With a last sweep of the garden on this bright, but very cool, day I discovered the parsley had survived some very cold nights when everything else around it was dead. It doesn’t often happen this late in the season.Trying to think of some fun food gifts for friends is always a challenge, but the parsley got me thinking…last year I made bouquet garnis for Priscilla, and she was asking for more. A savage scissors and the dehydrator got the process going.
I love to have herbal blends, rubs, and bouquet garni available in my cupboard to throw into a dish at a moments notice. If I’m in a rush and have to get out several jars of herbs it may not happen. I would end up with an average meal, when it could have been fantastic, if I had just taken the time. So…if I like having the blends, wouldn’t everyone else? With a recipe attached to get them started…even better!
Fresh bouquet garni is wonderful to cook with, but who has all the herbs, the cheesecloth and string handy. We often skip that part. A jar of pre-made bags will be perfect gifts, and a few extra for me. The traditional French blend is: bay, parsley, thyme, tarragon, and marjoram. It’s especially wonderful in chicken soup so that’s the recipe I will include. With winter right around the corner, chicken soup is warming and the perfect supper if you have the sniffles.
I like to use quality cheesecloth. I mail order it from a cheese making company, or you can use a double layer of the grocery store variety. Cut squares about 6-inches and cut kitchen string in about 10-inch lengths. In the center of each square break up 2 bay leaves and add a tablespoon of dried parsley, a teaspoon each of thyme, tarragon, and marjoram. Gather up the corners and twist into a ball. Tie securely with the string. Repeat for as many as you wish to make. Place 6 or 8 in a recycled jar. Print out your recipe and use as a label.
Now to make some noodles to include in the package….
Chicken Noodle Soup
Prep time: 1 1/2 hours
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 large yellow onion, cut in half, trimmed, but with skin left on
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
2 bouquet garni
1 tablespoon salt
Water to cover
8 ounces noodles
Place the chicken in a large pot with the onion, carrot, celery, bouquet garni, salt and water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the meat, cool slightly and pull from the bones. Return the bones to the broth and continue simmering for another 30-45 minutes. Strain the broth and return to the pot. Add the meat and noodles. Cook until the noodles are tender, about 6-8 minutes.