Thyme, oregano, lavender, tarragon, and parsley; these are the some of the lovely flavors in herbes de provence. Lavender? Not as crazy as it sounds! Actually the lavender helps to add a touch of interest to this flavorful herbal blend. French cuisine is built on the use of herbs, not spices; there is a reason for this; it has to do with culinary practices that have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. Yes, eventually I will write about this.
Thyme, along with parsley and bay leaves makes a combination called “bouquet garni” a must in soups and stews. Apart from its culinary uses, thyme has also been used in natural medicine for centuries. Oregano, growing abundantly in the Mediterranean regions, is a natural choice for French cooking.
The name oregano comes from the Greek, and means “mountain of joy.” Tarragon, one of my favorite herbs. Its bright anise seed flavor imparts an interesting taste on stews, vegetables and poultry. Tarragon can also be used to flavor oils and vinegar. Try it it’s delicious! By the way, you might want to check out my chicken tarragon recipe. And finally, lavender, in my opinion, with its subtle floral flavor is the ingredient that ties everything together.
Like with anything related to cooking, feel free to improvise when creating your herbes de provence blend. I like to use oregano, thyme, tarragon, dried parsley, and lavender. Keep things simple, you know. Some people use sage, and basil which I actually prefer to use fresh and not dried, just personal preference. I hope you try this out, you might never want to buy the store mixture again.
Herbes de Provence
Make your own herbs de provence or "herbes de provence" for my French friends. A fabulous aromatic blend of herbs and you can make your own custom blend like I do. I prefer oregano, parsley, thyme, tarragon and lavender. You can also add savory and marjoram too.
- Place all ingredients in a jar and shake until all the herbs are blended.