A better bouquet garni: The Leek ‘Bouquet Garni’

I was never a fan of “wrap the herbs in cheesecloth and simmer, remove before serving”. I personally like to throw in my herbs and let them flavour and simmer off their stems into the broth. It makes the soup pretty and flavourful with flecks of thyme, rosemary, and parsley.
You do have to fish out a bay leaf before blending a soup- but in soups or stews I always thought the bowl that finally got the bay leaf was a ‘lucky bowl’.
I did learn something new that changed my view of the ‘bouquet garni’. In my herbs class at Rooted Nutrition– Chef Andrea started talking about adding herbs to her soups-and began assembling a bouquet garni in a leek leaf. Now this is a bouquet garni I can get behind. Not only do you get to use the green parts of the leek normally reserved for making veggie stock (or the compost)- the leek will add some more flavour to your soup/stew as it simmers with its bouquet of herbs.

Here is my leek bouquet garni simmering in A Very Green (and tasty and incredibly good for you) Soup.

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It is incredibly easy, looks gourmet to your soup-onlookers and because the leek is adding more flavour and you are re-using a vegetable- it does not feel like that weird unnecessary step- and you don’t have to run out and buy cheesecloth and in my opinion and I really do feel there is something odd about simmering fabric.

More ways to use your leek greens:

  • Creamed leek stems from: 2 Minutes to Dinner. I am a fan of the ‘otherwise trash’ recipe collection. They suggest using your creamed leek greens in pasta or in a frittata, or adding as the creamy component in your soup.
  • Stuff them!: I found a few recipes online for “stuffed leek greens”. You can use them like grape leaves in a dolmade (see this recipe for stuffed leeks from surfing the world cuisine)and suddenly it dawned on me these leek leaves can be much like chard rolls if you blanch the leaf, wrap them around a filling and bake them.
  • Freeze them for making stock.

For my ‘greens in the crisper’ soup: Sweat your leeks and onion in olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft.
Add 2 (medium) russet potatoes- chopped. add your chili flakes, 2 chopped garlics. Coat in the savoury base!
add your chopped fennel stalk and fronds. sautee a bit longer- then add in your stock (i used 4C stock, 2 C water). Add your chopped zuchinni.
Taste the soup periodically for salt, it might be slightly on the bitter side at this point, but once you add the chard it sweetens up the broth. Add your chard in when the potatoes & zucchinis are soft. The chard only takes a few minutes.
Puree the soup, season, and serve.
Note: I usually puree my soups in a blender but I have been thinking how to make this a ‘one pot meal’ and the answer is use your stick blender/wand! I usually use a blender because it is easier to control the broth/vegetable ratio so you don’t end up with something too watery but my answer to this was to take out 2C of liquid from the soup, puree, and add the extra liquid if needed. If you don’t need your extra liquid it will be great for flavouring rice or quinoa.



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