Help with herbs falling apart in stew

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Hi :)

I make a stew, which is basically sauté onions, throw in fresh garlic and ginger, spices, water, and then lentils, potatoes (red and sweet), turnip, parsnip and carrot.

I have tried throwing in some fresh thyme and rosemary, but the sprigs fall apart, and picking out the little pieces is a PITA.

Any suggestions on what to do? Other than don't use fresh thyme and rosemary!
 
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You can do two things here, actually three.....

1) Create a Bouquet Garni as phatch phatch and brianshaw brianshaw suggested (that's the easiest);
or
2) Leaf the thyme and the rosemary from their stalks and gently crush them with a mortar and pestle with a teaspoon or two of olive oil, depending on the amount of herbs. Sometimes, I will do this with a splash or two of white wine. This helps release the oils from the herbs and they will become very aromatic;
or
3) If you don't have a mortar and pestle, leaf the thyme and rosemary and crush the leaves in your hands and then add them to the stew.

Good luck. :)
 

pete

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With thyme, I just strip the leaves off of the stem and toss them in. For rosemary, I strip the leaves off of the steam, give in a quick chop (doesn't need to be fine) and toss them in.
 

phatch

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With thyme, I just strip the leaves off of the stem and toss them in. For rosemary, I strip the leaves off of the steam, give in a quick chop (doesn't need to be fine) and toss them in.
I do that a lot too. Just the OP struck me as finding that fussy.
 
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I'm a neanderthal about these things. Throw in either/both stripped small thyme sprigs or whole large ones that strip themselves in the stew and are easy to fish out. Rosemary becomes like any other vegetable here, completely soft and edible. So I've never bothered to sachet herbs, the thought just repulses the neanderthal in me. Likewise I don't strain the liquid for a bourguignon either.
 
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This is a problem? I do tie them together and fish out the stems but that's it. The soft stemmed things like parsley, dill, and cilantro keep their leaves. The leaves of the woody-stemmed herbs fall off into the braise or the released fat. Other than bay leaves, it's never occurred to me that I should pick them out.
 
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If you are using the right herbs, this should not be a problem. Fresh thyme, bay and parsley stalks tied in a bundle with string is the classic bouquet garnie. You can wrap it in muslin if worried, but they never fall apart on me. Rosemary will always shed its leaves, so you just need to know that and understand that the best way to handle rosemary is to either go with that (as in a cacciatore) or pick and chop it so it it not an issue (as in a risotto).
 

phatch

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You can get them in 4.5 inch diameter. Chinese grocers often carry these large sizes.

 

pete

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I don't understand why you have a problem with the leaves falling off. They are completely edible, and the thyme leaves are so small that they are hardly noticeable. Even the rosemary leaves, if fresh, are completely edible, soft, and are not very noticeable either. Nor, after being cooked for so long, are either herb that powerful in flavor that if you ate its taste would be overpowering.
 
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For rosemary you can add in the last 10 minutes and get the flavor without the leaves.

Well, in my defense, it only takes 10 min to cook. ;)

I don't understand why you have a problem with the leaves falling off.

B/c they are not really edible (I know you said they are), and I do not like the taste - just the flavor imparted.

Not sure why my link didn't show up in my last post :/

Will check my local Chinese grocer - thanks!
 

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