I am the MacGyver of Soup: DIY Bouquet Garni

I love fall, and being from Illinois, I expect it to start in September.  Not October.  Or mid-November.  Five years in DC and I am still in a state of denial as to the duration of summer, even after having to scrap my son’s bear costume because it was too hot out last year.  On Halloween.  At the end of October.

Upon awaking yesterday, the sky was gray, the air was crisp and the garden was looking half-dead (thanks Irene).  Three clear signs of fall, if you ask me.  Dear Husband had the car and the drizzle was drizzling, so it looked like an indoor day with the baby, the perfect kind of day to make soup.  I pulled out my trusty Twelve Months of Monastery Soups and thumbed through the fall section.  Tomato brandy soup sounded perfect.  I could finally finish off the bottle of brandy that had been languishing on top of the fridge since last November.

The recipe called for making garlic herb stock first, using a “bouquet garni,” which apparently consists of tying together different sprigs of dried spices.  When the soup’s done, you remove the bouquet from the pot and leave the gray, soggy mess on the steps of an ex-boyfriend’s house.  Or something.

The problem I ran into was that my dried spices are all ground.  I though about using my tea steeper, but I prefer my African honeybush without a hint of garlic.  That’s when I hatched my plan.  I put the spices in a coffee filter and secured the top with a twist-tie.  Despite my reservations about creating Bridget Jones-esque blue (or in this case, green) soup, I dropped it in the water along with some garlic.

I simmered the whole lot for a few hours, then finished the soup just as DH got home from work.  By then it was 80 degrees and humid outside.  His first comment was, “This tastes like something a monk would eat.”  Not a compliment.  I guess it’s time to put the soup book away for another month or two, until fall actually arrives.

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  • erica October 5, 2011  

    did it taste like coffee filter? not that you eat coffee filters…

  • Miss K October 5, 2011  

    Haha. I get what you mean…and no, fortunately, it did not.

  • John October 7, 2011  

    Twelve Months of Monastery Soups? That’s a real thing? Where can I find it? I need it to go with the book on medieval weed (like dandelions, not the illegal substance) based wines I got from a yard sale.

    Also, great tip about the coffee filter. It’s one of those things I feel like I should have already known, but I have skipped quite a few recipes because I didn’t have a way to make the bouquet. Thanks!

  • Miss K October 7, 2011  

    You are quite welcome for the tip. I look forward to using this new technique often this winter. As for the book, it is a real thing, and it’s great! I did a quick check on Amazon, and you can get it for $11.53 new. That business with the wines sounds pretty cool, and the weed supply would certainly seem to be readily available.

  • Pat O October 7, 2011  

    I love a good MacGyver reference. Also soup.

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