Bouquet garni, which is French for “garnished bouquet,” is a classic herb mixture used for preparing stocks, soups, casseroles, meats, and vegetables. The traditional combination is parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, but you may find recipes that include other herbs such as rosemary, basil, chervil, peppercorn, and tarragon. You can make bouquet garni with fresh or dried herbs. If the herbs are fresh, the combination is secured with a bit of cooking twine, while cheesecloth is generally used to wrap the dried herbs, and the bundle is secured with twine. You can also use a teasif.
Using a bouquet garni instead of simply adding the herbs to your dish helps with flavor, texture, convenience, and presentation. Fresh herbs will get soggy and often discolor when left to cook for a long time, and dry herbs are not the most attractive when floating at the top of a finished dish. Bundling up the herbs—whether dried or fresh—also makes for easy removal.
If you would like to use fresh herbs in your bouquet garni, an ideal combination is 4 or 5 sprigs of parsley, 1 or 2 sprigs of thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Gather the parsley and thyme sprigs, place the bay leaf on top, and use a piece of kitchen twine to bind it all together, keeping one piece of the string long enough so you can easily pull out the herb bundle.