Garbure is a thick soup of bacon and/or cured ham with cabbage, white beans and other vegetables. Often a confit of duck is added. It is traditional in Gascony, particularly in the Béarn, les Landes and the Pyrenees. It differs from one home to the next and varies with the the seasons and the resources of the cook. The soup is so thick that the ladle stands up in it. It is served on slices of bread in each plate. As each person gets to the end of his soup, he adds a glass of wine to the remaining bouillon on his plate, a custom they call faire chabrot.
Ingredients for 4 people
water or light chicken stock
300 g cured ham (the cheap end bits)
200 g salted pork belly
2 legs, or several wings, of duck confit (optional)
200 g fresh or dry white beans (soaked for 12 hours)
1 large onion
2 branches of celery
half a head of garlic
a bouquet garni; parsley, thyme, bay
half a savoy (crinkled) cabbage
salt and pepper
If using dried beans, soak them overnight in water. Cut the carrots, leeks, celery and turnips into 1-2 cm chunks. Chop one half of the onion coarsely and stud the remaining onion half with the cloves.
If using the duck confit, gently fry the pieces in their own fat, until golden. Remove the pieces and sweat the cut vegetables in the same fat. If not using confit, sweat the vegetables in a little lard or olive oil. Cut the ham and the pork belly into 2cm chunks and add to the pan. Cover all this with water or stock and bring to a simmer adding the beans, the bouquet garni and the crushed garlic. Cook all this for an hour and a half.
Cut the potatoes into chunks. Remove the large ribs from the cabbage leaves and roughly slice them into large pieces. Add both of these to the pot. An hour later the confit, along with a good coating of fat, is dropped in . Cook for another 20 minutes. At this point the soup should be thick enough for the ladle to stand up in it. Discard the onion half and the bouquet garni. The soup can be slightly thickened by crushing some of the vegetables against the side of the pot. A splash of vinegar can be added to brighten up the flavour.