A while back, I posted a recipe for a bouquet garni – basically a selection of herbs or spices, either tied or in a cheese cloth pouch. Since we have all new appliances that are significantly better than anything I have ever used in my life, I felt I needed to have a practice run on making a turkey before Thanksgiving next month. We did that yesterday, and I used a bouquet garni to season the bird with some amazing flavors.
I happened to have fresh sage and thyme, which I combined with garlic and shallots, then wrapped in cheese cloth and tucked into the cavity of the turkey before roasting. The flavors were subtle and enriched the meat with a beautiful flavor. This is a technique I highly recommend!
Here is the roasted bird with the bouquet garni peeking out. In the past I would put a regular white onion cut in quarters into the cavity, and while it did add flavor to the meat, it could be sharp if not a good onion. The shallots and garlic add a richness and the herbs temper that with sweet and savory aroma.
Our “Test-giving” dinner turned out great! I hope that as you begin thinking about your upcoming feasts, trying something new will open new flavor doors to you.
This post inspired me to basically do the same for our Thanksgiving turkey. I did use a turkey roasting bag, but I did 2 cheesecloth bundles of goodies for the neck and main cavity. I also put a few in the bag under the turkey. Best turkey ever! And that made the best gravy ever! so good! What I used was just a couple pieces of celery, shallots, garlic cloves (both of those were cut in half or large pieces), rosemary, thyme, sage. So flavorful! The grocery store had a package of “poultry herb blend” so it made my job of deciding how much of each herb to use so much simpler. My mother actually admitted that the baton has been passed and I’m now in charge of Thanksgiving thanks to this amazing turkey. That may or may not be a good thing…
Thank you, Mrs. Marvel, for inspiring a delicious dinner!
Wow Diane that is great to hear! I hadn’t thought of the neck cavity but that would help to spread around the flavors. Excellent idea!
Thanksgiving is coming up again and this turkey is likely going to be the reason I will be hosting. I’ve started drooling for the amazing gravy flavor. Going to start looking for my cheesecloth now so I don’t wait until the last minute and scramble. So glad I wrote what I did so I don’t have to rely on my faulty memory.
I found some cheesecloth at Vons once, but I didn’t like the quality. Maybe a premium store or even Amazon is the way to go for that. I’m going to be using your method this year! :-)
I actually just learned there are different grades of cheesecloth. You probably bought a low grade, that is a very open weave, and were expecting a medium to high grade that have much tighter weaves. I think I had the same problem last year–not pleased with the cheesecloth, but had to use it anyway. Now I know what to look for (40-50-60 medium grade) for cooking applications.