15 January 2012

Cooking with Herbes de Provence

Photo credit: Katie's language Cafe, lavender buckets, Paris

I love cooking all types of food, including French cuisine. When my husband and I married, our cookbook collections married as well, and I was thrilled to find a large FRENCH COOKING hardback in his collection. In 12 years, I have never cooked something from any of our French cookbooks (there are now 6 in our collection) that wasn't delicious!
One of the things I love to use when I am cooking, is the French spice blend called
herbes de Provence. The standard mixture typically contains  a blend of the following herbs: savory, basil, fennel, and thyme.. Some varieties also include: sage, marjoram, chervil  and/or lavender.

You can add herbes de Provence to grilled meats, white fish, soups, and stews. My husbands favorite is a French Cassoulette with duck and sausage and it would not taste the same without this spice blend added. You can also add it to oil that is warming up (be careful not to burn) in order to infuse the flavor into the oil before preparing other foods.  If you are buying a premade blend in the store, be sure to check the label. Just because it is named Herbes de Provence, does not guarantee it actually came from France. Some store blends can come from other areas including  Europe, Africa or China~~ or this one, from CA: 

photo credit: KFLC/Organic, but not from France...
For that reason, if I am unable to find a French one at my local specialty grocer, I like to make my own with the following recipe: (Dried fresh herbs are best, but use organic store bought in a pinch!)


1 tbsp. Lavender
1 tbsp. Savory (if you cant find, substitute 1 tsp sage)
1 tbsp. Rosemary
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tbsp. Oregano
1 tbsp. Basil
1 tbsp. Thyme

I have read that typical French dishes do not include Lavender as an ingredient in Herbes de Provence, with that being more of an Americanized version. I personally like the lavender added. When I can find it fresh, I dry my own and add it. I love the aroma and floral undertone the lavender gives to the mix.  Some people like to go heavier on the fennel seed. As fennel seed is similiar to anise and I am NOT a fan of anything licorice related, my own blend decreases that amount so that it is not overpowering to my overly sensitive licorice detecting pallette. Feel free to play around with the spices and amounts until you have created your own favorite go-to Herbes de Provence blend to use in your French Culinary journey!


Bon app├ętit!

**This post is linked up to Whatever you want Wednesdays over at Free Pretty Things for You.




4 comments:

  1. Katie, I have used herbes de Provence for so many dishes. It is unbeatable in good old meatloaf! so funny you should have this posted, b/c I have an article from long ago that follows similarly! I will be running it in late February or early March. Everyone should know about this wonderful blend!! Thanks for sharing. I LOVE your new site :)

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  2. Katie, I'm trying to pull this into my Goggle Reader...the rss feed is not working....LOVE what you've done, though!

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  3. Jacqueline, I can't wait to read your article! Thanks for coming over and spending time here with me today!

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  4. Rebecca, Oh no! Thanks for letting me know! I will go check that out and see if I can get that fixed straight away! So happy to see you here and that you are enjoying it. I have lots of great things planned!

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