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Old 07-31-2005, 12:32 PM   #1
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How to keep spice flavor *in* stews, but leaves, stems, sprigs, etc. *out*?

Hi,

I'm new to this forum, so please forgive me if this question popped up in the wrong category - I just wasn't sure...

I made a ratatouille for lunch today, and put in fresh bay leaf, fresh thym, fresh marjoram, fresh sage, etc.

This obviously gave flavor and subtety to the dish. However, it's a pain in the... neck to have to pick out the debris of the herbs afterword, and embarrassing if you have guests over.

There must be some simple solution around this...

I know that a classic French bouquet garni is *tied* with string. I suppose I could try to do the same, but is there another system, with some sort of fabric or wire cage?

Best regards,
Alex R.

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Old 07-31-2005, 12:35 PM   #2
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hi! welcome!

you could tie the spices up in a little piece of cheesecloth (just cut a square the size you need) and tie the top of the cheesecloth off w/ a length of string.
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:35 PM   #3
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Alex,

I just take a piece of cheesecloth and make a spice bundle out of everything, then I can just fish that out when I get ready to serve and no body knows it was there but me
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexR
Hi,

I'm new to this forum, so please forgive me if this question popped up in the wrong category - I just wasn't sure...

I made a ratatouille for lunch today, and put in fresh bay leaf, fresh thym, fresh marjoram, fresh sage, etc.

This obviously gave flavor and subtety to the dish. However, it's a pain in the... neck to have to pick out the debris of the herbs afterword, and embarrassing if you have guests over.

There must be some simple solution around this...

I know that a classic French bouquet garni is *tied* with string. I suppose I could try to do the same, but is there another system, with some sort of fabric or wire cage?

Best regards,
Alex R.
The fresh thyme, fresh marjoram, and fresh sage can be stripped from their stems and minced then you wouldn't have to remove those. The bay leaf will now be the only thing you have to remove and that won't be hard.

Does that make it sound a little easier?

There are some dishes you make that herbs tied in cheesecloth just don't work. In a soup or stew where they can move around alot is a good one to use that in. But something like this - I've made this several times before - You might just want to mince them.
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:58 PM   #5
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Depending on the dish, you could use a larger version of a tea ball made for herbs and spices. The version I've seen is a 4-5 inch long metal cage you can put herbs into and close up. It hangs off the side of the pot or can be dropped in.

I use a cheesecloth bundle when needed.
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Old 07-31-2005, 01:05 PM   #6
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Here's a picture of a pan of ratatoulle - the problem with a ball or cheesecloth is the vessel is not that deep and those flavors need to be evenly spread around.

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Old 07-31-2005, 01:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Depending on the dish, you could use a larger version of a tea ball made for herbs and spices. The version I've seen is a 4-5 inch long metal cage you can put herbs into and close up. It hangs off the side of the pot or can be dropped in.

I use a cheesecloth bundle when needed.
That's what I was going to say. Great minds think
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Old 07-31-2005, 04:34 PM   #8
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What they said.

Since you're in France, the French term would be "Bouquet Garni".

But since we're on this topic, why do you need to pick out the herbs and why would it be embarrasing to have fresh herbs in the dish? That should be part of the presentation.
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Old 08-01-2005, 12:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Depending on the dish, you could use a larger version of a tea ball made for herbs and spices. The version I've seen is a 4-5 inch long metal cage you can put herbs into and close up. It hangs off the side of the pot or can be dropped in.

I use a cheesecloth bundle when needed.

Andy,

They were on sale at Williams Sonoma recently!

They seemed too large for my use, though.

I have often used a regular size tea ball.

Wish I could find something in between sizes.

If my teaball isnt big enough I use cheescloth
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