by: Max M Rasmussen

Bouquet Garni

Bouquet Garni - Medium Bundle - Max M Rasmussen
It is a part of many recipes, but it is rarely described in depth just exactly what a "bouquet" is. Bouquet garni means "a bundle of herbs". There may be several different kinds of herbs in it. The classical version consist only of parsley, thyme and bay leaves. The typical mistake is to make it too small with to few herbs.


Small bundle for 1-2 litres/quarts of liquid

  • 1 small bunch parsley (the bundle of stems should be as thick as a middle finger.)
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried.

Medium bundle for 2-4 litres/quarts of liquid

  • 1 bunch parsley (the bundle of stems should be as thick as a (male) thumb.)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried.

Large bundle for 4 litres/quarts of liquid

  • 1 large bunch of parsley (for example, an entire pot if you buy them fresh.)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 7 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 to 2 tsp dried.


In addition to the basic herbs you may well put in other spices. Tarragon, rosemary, juniper, orange peel, etc. But it depends on your recipe.

You often see in a recipe that the bundle must be packed in a small cloth bag or a tea-strainer. This is not necessary if you are making a stock that you later have to press through a sieve. If you make a slowly simmered stew it is a fine idea. It is a good idea to invest in some unbleached cheesecloth in the local cloth store.

Fresh herbs are relatively volatile, so the closer towards the end of cooking you put them in, the stronger the taste of them will be. A good idea is to let them simmer along for the last half hour.