Lafayette Spices doesn’t carry many dried herbs. In fact, we only carry one! So it’s really important that it’s incredibly delicious – something that makes a big splash! Enter - Herbes de Provence. This flavor packed herb blend comes straight from France and is going to make your roasted meats, vegetables, soups and stews the talk of the town. No seriously. You’re not going to believe the transformation that boring roasted chicken is going to take. Prepare to transport yourself to the south of France – bon voyage!
Let’s start with a little background on the Herbes de Provence blend… This dried herbal mix hails from the Provence region of southeast France. The Lafayette Spices mix includes five herbs, each with its own distinct flavor profile and importance to the blend: Savory, Marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme, and Oregano. Each herb is picked at its absolute peak of flavor and slowly air dried – this process achieves a flavor and color that is second to none.
The blend itself is considered to be one of the youngest herb mixtures in France – after staples like Bouquet Garni and Fines Herbes. The term has only been around since the 70’s and was popularized by Julia Child! The mixture itself can include many different iterations of herbs – and can be either fresh or dried. The blend can include thyme, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, basil, chervil, tarragon, lovage, savory, sage, bay leaf, and fennel. Some mixtures outside of France include Lavender because it was an excellent selling point to tourists who couldn’t picture a Provincial herb blend without it!
All this talk about the blend – but what the heck do you do with it?! Herbes de Provence is best when cooked with. Cooking softens the rough leaves and allows the natural oils and aromas to come out. You can use it as a raw ingredient, but it’s best to blend it into a fine powder before doing so. This can be achieved in a blender or spice grinder. The raw ground herb blend would make an excellent flavor addition to a fresh salad dressing or even a sprinkling over a plated pasta dish. But where the Herbes de Provence blend really shines, is when it’s roasted – whether on meat, seafood, or vegetables. Rubbing a generous pinch over chicken, pork loin, beef roast, whole fish, or carrots before roasting is your ticket straight to the aromatic shores of France. The herbs open up and soften in the roasting fats and become something truly magical.
We used this beautiful seasoning to create a simple and delicious weeknight meal using chicken thighs. The skin was trimmed and the thighs were seasoned with sea salt and Herbes de Provence. Into a hot pan with a little oil they went, and began to crisp and brown. Once fully rendered and crispy, mushrooms were added. This can be as simple as crimini or button mushrooms – or something more lavish and expensive like morels or porcinis. Whatever you’re in the mood for! Let the mushrooms sear briefly, then add a handful of veggies – we used snap peas, but you can just as easily substitute carrots, English peas, or asparagus. Add about a cup of your favorite cream of mushroom soup, and allow the entire concoction to simmer away for about 15 minutes, until the chicken thighs are cooked through. Transfer to a bowl, sauce and all, and finish with a little fried crispy onion. This dish is incredibly easy and quick to prepare, and so so comforting. Think, a heartier version of a greenbean casserole.
Enjoy this beautiful blend, it’s one of our favorites and we’re certain it will quickly become yours too.