Despite the dodgy name, Garbure it is a hearty vegetable based soup with the addition of duck confit and it’s really really good!

It’s found in almost every restaurant in the Hautes Pyrenees and is great for cold days.

You're going to need a really big pot for this one and the longer it cooks, the better it gets.


If you have time, make it the day before.

The soup is traditionally served with Confit de Canard if you can find it (try a deli or in tins at speciality supermarkets) and the confit will give the soup a richness worthy of a main course, if not the soup will be just as good as it is.


Recipe for 8

500g lardons or bacon pieces - unsmoked
2 onions - chopped roughly
2 sticks of celery - chopped into cm pieces
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 green cabbage - shredded roughly
6 carrots – peeled and cut into 3 cm chunks
4 turnips – peeled and cut into 3 cm chunks
2 leeks – peeled and cut into 1 cm bits
6 potatoes – peeled and cut into 3 cm chunks
250g tin of white beans - drained and rinsed. Doesn’t matter which kind as long as they are not in a sauce!
8 pieces of confit de canard. Optional
Water or vegetable stock
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

The Mix: 

In your very large cook pot brown the lardons for a couple of minutes then add in the celery, leeks and onions and cook for another couple of minutes

Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the cabbage, haricot beans and confit de canard (if you are using it) and cook for another 2 minutes

Add enough water/stock to cover everything and bring to the boil

Reduce the heat, put a lid on and simmer the soup for about an hour – you will have to add extra water/stock

After an hour, take the lid off, taste, season and add the cabbage then simmer for another hour 

Then add the beans and more water/stock to cover everything again and bring back to a simmer

Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig and adjust the seasoning

Warm the confit de canard in the oven and serve on top of the soup

Serve with crusty bread. The French prefer to eat this with stale bread as it soaks up more liquid!

The soup can simmer for as long as you are comfortable with – I leave mine for about 4-5 hours
The trick is to simmer rather than boil. Simmering allows the ingredients to stay intact instead of breaking up.

Drink This: 

A big Red Wine from South West France

Southwest France Wines

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