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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Herbes de Provence


Recently a recipe called for 2 tablespoons of Herbes de Provence.  It was the first time I'd heard of it and wanted to cook there and then, so I went to my laptop to learn more.

The name, of course, told me that it must be a mixture of herbs but which herbs in particular?  I found a few recipes and settled on the one below.  It didn't include Oregano, so I added a couple of tablespoons.  I might just leave it out next time but suspect I won't notice a great deal of difference.  One herb that does take over is the Thyme, so I'll cut back on that as well.

Naturally, the mixing of herbs is a time-worn addition to cuisine by discerning cooks, especially Provençal grandmothers.  It can also be mixed with oil and used as a marinade.

In the 1970s a blend was formulated by spice wholesalers.  I have never seen it on the shelves here but found a small packet of 20g online at a ridiculous price and it contained lavender, which, I believe, is not done in France.

I use it quite often now, rubbing it into the pork roast, sprinkling it on my Chicken Maryland (hubby likes cajun or chilli on his), and adding it to the roast vegies.

Do you have a favourite blend?

My little herb cupboard

23 comments:

Betsy said...

I've seen it in the stores, sold it cute little pots, but have never used it! I bet making it up yourself was a lot of fun!

Nancy said...

I have used this, but not often. It seems by the time I need it - it is too old to use, so I have to buy another jar! Maybe I just need to use it more - be creative. I have a whole bag of spices I need to throw out but just can't bring myself to do so. They were in storage for two years in extreme temperatures. I hate to do it - they're so expensive to replace!

alaine@éclectique said...

Betsy, it was fun, all those aromas wafting about!

alaine@éclectique said...

Nancy, no, I'm afraid they will have to go as they like a cool, dark place. I use herbs most days, very carefully, as I do like to eat a carrot that tastes like a carrot!

Here's a link for shelf life of spices -

http://www.theepicentre.com/tip/spicetips.html

le style et la matière said...

Herbes de Provence and bouquet garni of course, but since my family is Franco-American, we are very open-minded in the spice department (as well as in others, I hope)! A favorite blend picked up 2 years ago on our last trip to New Orleans is Konriko's Chipotle - cajun meets mexican. It's nice and smokey. Another thing I adore is to add baies roses (pink berries/peppercorn?) to fennel salad or to fish. Mmmm - bonne appétit!

alaine@éclectique said...

le style et la matière...thank you, I'll definitely be looking up the Konriko's Chipotle, as I love a smokey taste. One dish I have not made yet is fennel salad; I've been reading about fennel lately, it's excellent for the digestive system. I've taken up drinking fennel tea and cutting back on coffee.

Wanda said...

Long ago my mother-in-law influenced me with her use of spices. My favorites at the moment are chipolte blends, curry blends and of course fresh basil and rosemary, which I grow!

♥...Wanda

le style et la matière said...

Ah, now that is new to me. I love the fresh anise taste of fennel -and of Pastis! In terms of tea, for breakfast it's strong Kenyan and the rest of the day I drink lots of green Sencha. I looove teas and infusions!

Derrick said...

Hi Alaine,

Herbes de Provence may well be a special blend but I'm sure a dash of 'mixed herbs' would suffice! We should all experiment more rather than have jars festering at the back of the cupboard. I love fennel or anything with an aniseed flavour!

willow said...

Ooo...I adore that mortar and pestle! This blend sounds wonderful!! Thanks, Alaine.

alaine@éclectique said...

Wanda...I grow basil and rosemary but I've never used them together; thanks for that. Another reader mentioned the chipotle; I'll look further into these.

alaine@éclectique said...

le style et la matière....now I'm learning even more! Pastis and Sencha I haven't heard of but will search out...thanks.

alaine@éclectique said...

Derrick....that aniseed flavour is so refreshing; makes me go back for seconds.

alaine@éclectique said...

Willow...haha, I feel like a lab technician when I use it!

Sam Liu said...

I'd heard of Herbes De Provence but was unaware as to its meaning, thank you for enlightening me :) I love this history and the narrative within your recipe, it adds a real charm.

alaine@éclectique said...

Sam...thank you; I truly value your comments.

Susan said...

Hi Alaine!

I have a bottle of Herbs de Provence and I think I have used it once. I'm sure it needs to be thrown away by now.

One seasoning mixture I really love is Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute. It's perfect on grilled chicken and fish and roast potatoes or vegies. I use bottles and bottles of it.

I like the chipotle chile powder which I buy in a Mexican grocery store. It's much easier to use than the canned peppers and has the same awesome flavor. I use it in place of regular chili powder in my chili. It takes very little, because it is very potent.

alaine@éclectique said...

Susan...I think you have a much broader range of condiments than we do. Seasoning Salute sounds great but we don't have a Trader Joe, unfortunately.

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Greetings Alaine,

I find it very interesting that Herbes de Provence is not available in your neck of the woods. I can find it in just about any market here in the US, with a number of companies supplying this collection of spices.

I use it only when using a whole chicken in a Dutch cast oven pot, surrounded by potatoes, carrots and lots of onions.

Another good place to use it is in soups, however I would not use it on red meat or fish at all, just on fowl.

AS for lavender being part of it, I would have to say it is not part of the mix and as for my own cooking experience, I would not add it since it over powers the other mix of spices.

Wishing you a wonderful week,
Egmont

alaine@éclectique said...

Egmont...thank you for visiting and do hope you're on the mend!

I daresay it may be available in some of the gourmet shops closer to Melbourne but I rarely get that far down the line. Besides, I enjoyed making my own!

Your kind wishes in return!

Vagabonde said...

My grandmother, mother and now myself have always used Herbes de Provence. I usually buy it in a large sack when I go to France. I use it on so many things – salads, omelettes, vegetable and so on. I have planters of Italian basil, Asian basil, rosemary, oregano, tarragon and thyme on the porch and every time I make a green salad I go out and get a mixture of some fresh herbs. When I went to Columbus, Ohio I discovered the spices by Penzeys. They have many spices and send a catalog which explains which spice or herb to use. They also have a website and list all the spices with their use (http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/c-SpicesAs_Herbs_and_Seasonings2.html) however I checked their herbes de Provence and they limit it to Cornish hens and pork chops – too limited. I bought a little mill when I was in Antibes, like a pepper mill, and place the herbes de Provence in it to grind them and use them on food just like black pepper.

alaine@éclectique said...

Vagabonde...Many thanks for that link; I'll go and look and I love that idea of the pepper mill for the herbes. My husband isn't as keen on them as I am, he prefers pepper and hot sauces...I'll look around for a mill.

alaine@éclectique said...
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