handmade | herbes de provence
Have you ever tried cooking with herbes de provence? My sister put a jar of it in my Christmas stocking a few years ago, and I quickly became hooked on the delicious and fragrant blend of herbs. I love to use it with chicken and potato dishes, but I've found that it goes especially well with beef (beef stew. pot roast. oh man.) And I'll admit, I pretty much just toss it into any soup or casserole or savory dish I happen to be cooking up, because I love it that much. I'm no chef.
I've cooked my way through a few jars of it since that first one from my sister, and when my last jar bit the dust a few weeks ago, I did a bit of research to see exactly what goes into that tasty blend of herbs and try making my own. Turns out there are a lot of versions out there-- some are simple and more authentically French, and others are more Americanized. No matter what you like best, the good news is they're all pretty easy to make.
After reading through a number of versions, I came up with a blend that I thought I'd like best, based on what I've had before. I found all but a few ingredients at my grocery store, and the rest at World Market. If you're interested in making your own, be sure to buy in bulk so you don't have to pay for extra packaging! Here's how to do it:
Herbes de Provence (makes 1 cup)
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon fennel seed
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried marjoram
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried lavender flower
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Grind rosemary and fennel seed with a mortar and pestle until slightly crushed; transfer to a bowl. Add thyme, basil, marjoram, parsley, lavender flower, oregano, tarragon, and coarse salt. Stir to combine. Store in an airtight container.
I ended up doubling the recipe in order to have enough to give away as Valentine's day gifts. I put 1/2 cup of the mixture in a jar, made a label, and tied it up with twine. Super easy! Really, the hardest part of all of this is going to be deciding how to pronounce herbes de provence when I present the gifts to their recipients. Do I say it with an obnoxious French accent? Or do I say it normally with my Wisconsin accent, which is equally obnoxious? Wish me luck.