Garbure: a recipe with ham

December 10, 2013


Garbure is neither soup nor stew. It is a celebration of hot broth, salted pork and winter vegetables: turnips, carrots, leeks, potatoes, and a curly green Savoy cabbage. More vegetable than meat, this warming soup either gets a leg of duck confit stirred in at the end to enrich the broth or as below where I donate a heel of ham, a last slab of ham cut into chunks, or a handful of trimmed rind. Garbure is perfect to transform a handful of odds and ends into a starting soup for lunch or dinner or a main course. Serve garbure in a wide soup plate over a slice of rustic bread that has been rubbed generously with raw garlic. It will transport you straight to your grandmother’s kitchen… that is if your grandmother lives in Southwest France.

Serves: 6 people

Time: 30 minutes to chop and prepare; 1.5 hours to cook. Total about 2 hours


  • Ham- 200-400gr /7- 14 ounces cut into large chunks about 3cm/1 in. wide.
  • Leeks- 2 cut in knuckle sized pieces
  • Carrots-2 peeled and cut into big chunks
  • Onions- 2 large chopped coarsely
  • Turnips-2 peeled and chopped
  • Garlic- 4 cloves peeled and chopped up
  • White beans-100gr/ 4 ounces dried beans, soaked overnight or 200gr/8 ounces fresh or pre-cooked beans
  • Potatoes- 4 large, peeled and cubed
  • Savoy cabbage- 1 whole cabbage, cored, halved, and cut into strips
  • Bouquet garni- the usual suspects: bay laurel, lovage, parsley stems, thyme
  • Sea Salt and whole peppercorns
  • Bread- pain de campagne or other rustic loaf; one thick slice per serving
  • Optional * duck confit


  1. Place the ham, leeks, carrots, onions, turnips, garlic, beans, potatoes and cabbage in a soup pot and cover with 2 liters/2 quarts of fresh water. Add the bouquet garni and a tablespoonful of salt and a dozen peppercorns.
  2. Cover, cook over a high heat, and bring to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, reduce the heat to slow setting and let simmer for about 1.5 hours.
  3. The longer this cooks, the sweeter and more melting the vegetable become. The next day it’s always better.
  4. Toast the bread and then rub them with raw garlic. Place in a wide soup bowl. Ladle the soup over the bread. Or you can place all the bread in a large wide oven-proof bowl, ladle the soup and vegetables over it, and sprinkle a hard grating cheese. Place in a hot oven until brown.

* adding a leg of confit de canard and a little of the duck fat and continue cooking raises the stakes to making this a main dish soup. Cured pork belly or ventrêche is another alternative. 

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December 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm

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pamela gallagher May 7, 2014 at 1:29 am

i am going to cook this wounderful soup dish for my family this week end thank you no cant wait i am cooking tonight ideal for australian winter’s

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