Adapted from Daniel Boulud, Elle Decor, Jan/Feb 2008 #148
Inspired by a recent recipe in Elle Decor, written by Daniel Boulud, I decided to try my hand at garbure. The original recipe is here.
Garbure is a traditional peasant vegetable and cabbage soup from the Southwest of France (Gascony/Basque/Bearn regions). The ingredients in a recipe vary, as it is a potage or soup made from what is seasonally at hand. Suggestions (found online) to include in such a garbure are: green cabbage, tarbais beans, fresh or dry beans, mange-tout, potatoes, turnips, peas, onions, carrots, kale or lettuce, chestnuts, nettles or borage. A winter soup would likely include root vegetables and a summer one might have tomatoes and fresh beans.
A suggested wine is one of the region: Madiran AOC. Boulud suggests to serve the garbure with garlic bread.
As for the meat component, duck confit thighs are more traditional than legs, but you can also add a piece of ham, pork, sausage, ribs, or even organ meats.
Before finishing the soup, it is traditional to make chabrot by diluting the remaining soup by pouring a little red wine into the bowl or onto the plate (about ½ glass). Then you drink it out of the bowl or plate in small mouthfuls. It is likely that the root of the word come from the latin capreolus “to drink like a goat” which is what one would emulate drinking from the plate or bowl.
Despite all my discussions, this is an easy recipe to make. Cooking time is about 45 mins, prep time is probably 30 mins. The measurements in the recipe do not need to be exact. The solid elements should balance the liquid so that there is chabrot that can be made at the end (there needs to be enough broth). The quality of the chicken stock will matter, so use your own housemade if you can.
If you are adapting the recipe to what you have at hand, I would suggest choosing about 4-5 vegetables and 1 or 2 meats to add beyond the duck, cabbage and beans. Since sizes of vegetables vary, you will have to use your best judgement when to stop and how much to use. I suggest that you chop all the vegetables and mix them in a bowl first – it will give you a better idea of ratio. I had a large cabbage and I decided to use about half (the size of a small to medium cabbage) to keep a balance – even then, cabbage was major player in the soup.
Garbure: 1/4 pound of bacon, cut into ½" pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium-size leek white part, sliced into ¼" pieces
1 small head of napa or savoy cabbage, core removed, sliced into 1" pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼" slices
3 stalks celery, diced
½ lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
4 confit duck legs (precooked)
3½ quarts housemade chicken stock*
1½ cups dried beans, soaked in water overnight, strained (I used Rio Zape)
Small bundle of fresh herbs like:
thyme, rosemary and sage tied with kitchen string and 1 bay leaf.
Salt and pepper to taste
* preferably home made but otherwise unsalted.
Fry the bacon or pancetta over med heat until browned and crispy. The bacon drippings left in the pan should be 1/8-1/4c. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft and golden over medium heat.
Meanwhile gently reheat the confit and render any fat, reserving it for another use (it keeps well in the freezer). Remove the skin and shred the meat discarding the bones. Add the duck to the onions and combine.
Add chicken stock, drained beans, potatoes, leeks and bring to a simmer.
Add all carrots, celery and cabbage to the pot, as well as herbs, and simmer for about 45 minutes until the soup is fragrant and potatoes are cooked through. Serve topped with the crispy bacon and some crusty bread – and some red wine.