My dear friend Rosie Hawthorne of Kitchens Are Monkey Business blog fame has requested that I blog the process of making a batch of Herbes de Provence.
Despite what you may have heard, there is no one recipe for making this herb blend. Traditionally, each homeowner in the Provence region of France would simply add the herbs that they had growing in their gardens at that particular time.
For this particular batch, I had basil, dill weed, flat-leaf (or Italian) parsley, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. Cut your herbs early in the day before the essential oils have dissipated in the heat of the day. Use twine or rubber bands to secure the bunches. Hang upside down to dry in a cool, airy location that does not receive direct sunlight.
I cut fresh herbs yesterday morning for another batch of Herbes de Provence. Here I have (left to right) thyme, flat-leaf parsley, sage, oregano, basil and rosemary. I really need to make a dedicated herb drying rack. But until then, this works for me.
Other herbs that are traditionally used in Herbes de Provence include lavender buds, marjoram, bay leaves, chervil, tarragon, summer savory, and even mint. Now, some people insist that lavender must be added for it to be an authentic Herbes de Provence. But, as this is my house and my lavender plants all died, this batch is lavender-free.
Allow to dry for several weeks until thoroughly dry.
Once dry, strip the leaves from the stems and pulse in a mini food processor until finely chopped. Alternately, the herbs can be chopped using a knife. I will warn you that dry rosemary can be a bit difficult to chop with a knife as it is very stiff and it will tend to jump around on the cutting board.
Store in an air-tight container for up to a year. Keep in a cool, dry, dark place.
Herbes de Provence works nicely in egg dishes, as well as with potatoes and meat. Experiment with your own blend to find your new favorites.
Sorry, Rosie, but this herb blend was gerbil-free.* Every time I tried to plant the gerbils, they kept digging themselves out and running off.
*Just an inside joke for those of us who love to make fun of Sandra Lee and her mispronunciations on Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee.