A bouquet garni (boh-kay gar-nee) is a bundle of herbs tied together. (Literally, the term means a “garnish bouquet” and these were always removed from the finished dish.) The classic French bouquet garni combines bay leaf, thyme and parsley. The bay and thyme can be fresh or dried; the parsley is used fresh and sometimes it is just the stems. The famed French chef Auguste Escoffier defined a bouquet garni in the specific proportions of 8 parts parsley, 1 part bay and 1 part thyme. However, you can make your own bouquet garni from any combination of herbs that you like. Usually a blend of two or three herbs provides enough flavor, interest and balance. Complex dishes like long-simmered soups or stews with bouquets garnis may use up to four or five herbs. The herbs can be tied with a string, tied up in cheesecloth or placed in a muslin bag so that they can easily be removed from the pot before serving. Generally the herbs are fresh in season, but they also can be dried.
Click here for the original article, 2009 Herb of the Year: Bay (Laurus Nobilis).