There are many ways to flavor foods, but one of the oldest culinary practices is using a bouquet garnet, sachet d'épices, or oignon brûlé. Each of these cooking terms describes a small bundle, composed of aromatic ingredients and/or spices, which is steeped in a simmering liquid (such as a soup or a sauce). Similar to a tea bag, the method allows the ingredients within the bundle to impart their flavor – as well as some nutrients – without compromising the texture of the dish. Once the recipe has finished cooking or the desired level of flavor has been extracted, these aromatic preparations are removed and discarded.
Unquestionably, there are standardized recipes for these bundles passed down by chefs for centuries. A classic sachet might include parsley, thyme, peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaf, for example. Yet there is a tremendous amount of flexibility within this medium. A soup with a Moroccan flair might include a sachet of cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cumin, and peppercorns. A creamy sauce might benefit from compilation of thyme, garlic, parsley, and leek. Even unusual and creative flavors like lavender, grapefruit peel, or green tea leaves can be incorporated in this manner. There are infinite ways to customize a bundle's seasonings.
Beyond just flavor, integrating potent superfoods and revitalizing herbs in the same manner can infuse additional healing properties into a dish. Dried Goji Berries impart antioxidants and minerals, as do Goldenberries. Dried seaweed like kombu introduces important electrolytes. Potent adaptogenic herbs such as holy basil or ginseng animate recipes with phytochemicals that can be used to boost mood and energy. And anti-inflammatory roots like ginger and turmeric make excellent additions as well.
Making your superfood sachet is incredibly simple. Take a small square of cheesecloth, and wrap your superfoods and aromatics inside. Tie up into a bag with a piece of string that is long enough on one end to tie to your pot handle, making it easy to remove…and voila! Remember that a sachet's ingredients are purposefully quite potent: you only need a pinch or a spoonful of each component, and the sachet should be removed as soon as the desired amount of flavor is imparted.