So everyone has that go to ingredient or set of ingredients they use in a lot of their dishes because either they are just comfortable with it or they feel it just adds that signature flavor to their dishes. Mine is bay leaf and thyme. I use this combination for most of my sauces, soups, and stews and just find that it gives a nice earthy and floral flavor to my dishes. It just adds that extra background flavor that makes everything delicious. I also use fresh bay leaves and it totally makes a difference. I had a chef once who made his chicken stock with 25 bay leaves and 2 bunches of thyme and it was delicious. Just don't blend them up in your dish.