Deborah Neyens is an attorney, educator, and freelance writer. She shares a home with two cats, two dogs, five chickens, and one husband.
I discovered herbes de Provence this past summer at the Brucemore Garden and Art Show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I found a rack of the aromatic herb mix among displays of handmade herbal soaps at the Jeanne's Soaps booth. As I stood there sniffing the sample like it was a perfume bottle, Jeanne approached. "You can use it in all kinds of dishes," she told me. "Any kind of vegetable. And it's really good for roasting chicken."
I bought a one-ounce bottle and, as Jeanne suggested, started using it in everything, from stuffed bell peppers and zucchini to my favorite chicken-in-a-pot recipe to a butternut squash and white bean mac 'n' cheese dish I created one night. The fragrant blend of dried herbs added a fresh taste and delicate aroma to my dishes while inspiring me to explore new levels of culinary creativity.
It's easy to make your own herbes de Provence by using dried herbs harvested from the garden or purchased in bulk from a natural foods stores. Packaged in a pretty glass jar or a terra cotta crock as used in the south of France, it would make a thoughtful handmade gift for anyone who likes to cook.
How to Make Herbes de Provence
Herbes de Provence is a blend of herbs traditionally grown on the hillsides of southern France. The addition of lavender flowers is an Americanization of the traditional French mix, and is said to have been a response to American tourists' infatuation with the lavender fields growing throughout the Provence region. While some purists argue that lavender has no place in the herb blend, it adds a subtle floral flavor and lovely purple accent to the mix. Make sure to use lavender indicated for culinary use.
Herbes de Provence Recipe
Mix together equal parts of the following dried herbs:
- Fennel seeds (crush for best results)
- Lavender flowers
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to four months.
How to Use Herbes de Provence
Herbes de Provence is a common seasoning in French country cuisine. The applications are endless. Use it as a rub for roasting or grilling chicken, lamb, or pork. Toss root vegetables (try potatoes, carrots, and parsnips) with olive oil and the herbs and roast until tender. Use a pinch in scrambled eggs or omelets with a few crumbles of goat cheese. Sprinkle it into stews and soups during cooking.
Fresh Tomato Soup With Herbes de Provence
The flavors of this herb blend pair particularly well with the traditional ingredients of Mediterranean cooking. Use it in fresh tomato soup to infuse a hint of floral and citrus flavors.
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence (see recipe above)
- 6 cups fresh tomato juice (or store-bought low-sodium tomato juice)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large, non-reactive stockpot (i.e., stainless steel, not aluminum). Add onion and carrots cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the herbes de Provence and stir for 1 minute.
- Carefully pour in the tomato juice and add salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then turn the heat down and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Puree the soup directly in the pot using an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a regular blender or food processor and puree in batches. Heat through and ladle into warmed bowls.
Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on September 09, 2012:
Congratulations, Craiglyn! That's so exciting for you. I will definitely visit and vote. Thanks also for your comment. I think the Herbes de Provence go so well with all the flavors of fall. Pesto is great, too. It freezes well if you make a big batch.
Lynda from Ontario, Canada on September 09, 2012:
I forgot to mention, and don't know how else to do it to get to my folowers: My hub "What's That In My BBQ" has been nominated for a nugget for new writers. Here is the voting page https://hubpages.com/living if you care to read it and think it worthy of a vote, I would much appreciate it. Thanks.
Lynda from Ontario, Canada on September 09, 2012:
I love this hub -and I am going to now make "Herbes de Provence". I have basil, and thyme in my garden - and I visit a lovely lavender farm not far from here - so I have part of the ingredients already. thanks for this. It is a great idea. I plan also to maybe make a bit of pesto from my basil. Hmmmm - you've got me thinking.
Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on July 29, 2012:
Thanks, Sherri! Let me know how you like the soup.
Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on July 29, 2012:
I can almost smell this blend now, and the smell is luscious. I also love the ingredients and easy steps for the tomato soup recipe. For sure, I'm making this soup while we're in in the middle of fresh tomato season in the northeast US. Up, useful, interesting. :)
Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on April 01, 2012:
Some variations contain lavender and some don't. The lavender is very distinctive and adds some pretty purple color to the mix. Thanks for your comment, Audrey.
Audrey Howitt from California on April 01, 2012:
I have used this herb mixture before and love it--and I never realized that lavender was part of the mix!
peepingtomb on January 14, 2012:
This one is new to me. My French ancestors would be ashamed. I'm definitely going to have to experiment with this.
Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on December 03, 2011:
i'll try it! Thanks so much!
Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on December 02, 2011:
It's great with vegetarian recipes, including the tomato soup recipe above, roasted veggies, and the butternut squash and white bean mac 'n cheese recipe I link to above. Have not tried it with tofu.
Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on December 01, 2011:
do you know if it would work well with vegetarian dishes and/or tofu? My wife is a vegetarian, you see.
Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on November 30, 2011:
Thanks, KaraokeGuy! I'm using it in everything these days. My bottle of Herbes de Provence got a huge workout over Thanksgiving - I used it in my stuffing, in the turkey stock, as a rub for the turkey. It goes really well with the autumn seasonal foods.
Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on November 30, 2011:
That looks fantastic. I'll have to give it a try!
christiness on November 13, 2011:
I discovered herbes de provence a few years ago but didn't know how to make it myself. Thanks for the recipe. I always use it in my chicken salad and it gets rave reviews.
prism3x on November 10, 2011:
I love using the herbes de provence in cooking soups to roasts!
Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on November 07, 2011:
Thanks for reading and commenting, jenubouka, NMLady and SanneL. I've started to go a bit crazy with the stuff, but haven't found anything that it doesn't work with yet. Last night I added it to my old stand-by balsamic vinaigrette recipe and used it in a salad of mixed greens, roasted beets and feta cheese. Lovely.
jenubouka on November 07, 2011:
The neat fact of ordering herbs de Provence is when you order them from France, (Provence) you will get a one of kind unique blend each time. This was both fun and challenging when working in a professional kitchen. Great read, I had forgotten about this delicate blend of herbs Vote up!!
NMLady from New Mexico & Arizona on November 06, 2011:
SanneL from Sweden on November 06, 2011:
A great aromatic hub!LOL!
I agree, Herbes de Provence can be added to almost anything. I usually make my own blend and it has just a wonderful aroma!
Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful!
Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on November 06, 2011:
I'm amazed it took me so long to discover it, Arlene. One of my top discoveries of 2011. Thanks for the comment and vote up.
Arlene V. Poma on November 06, 2011:
I bought a small container of Herbes de Provence from a local lavender farm and used it on just about everything. It's that versatile. I have been looking for the recipe because I miss sprinkling it on roast chicken. Nothing like it! Voted up and everything else. Bookmarked, too.