Potage garbure

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Serves 4-6

I always relate the word garbure to garbage, but it specifically means a soup of the south-west of France containing cabbage, meat such as pork or duck, and seasonal beans or dried beans. In early-19th-century cookbooks, the garbures that were common in Europe were thick soups containing cabbage, and they were baked with alternate layers of bread. They must have been pretty stodgy, as the benchmark to which they aspired was that a spoon stuck in the soup should stand up straight. Today, garbures only exist in the south-west of France.

I like to make a hearty and healthy potage garbure with exactly what's in season and what's in my fridge. You may even be using a stock made from your Christmas carcass.

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
6 thick rashers of streaky bacon, cut into rough 1cm chunks
1tsp thyme leaves
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
A good knob of butter or a tablespoon of olive oil
1.5ltrs chicken stock (or a couple good quality stock cubes dissolved in that amount of boiling water)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into rough 1/2-1 cm chunks
2 sticks of celery, peeled if necessary and cut into rough 1/2-1 cm chunks
1 large turnip, or a small swede, peeled and cut into rough 1/2-1 cm chunks
1 x small 400g can of flageolet beans, washed and drained
6-8 leaves of Savoy cabbage

Other optional ingredients include seasonal beans in spring and summer, parsnips, lentils or other small beans, pieces of duck or goose confit

Gently cook the onion, bacon, thyme and garlic in the butter for 3-4 minutes until soft, add the stock, bring to the boil and gently simmer for 30 minutes. Add the carrot, celery and turnip and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Add the cabbage and beans and simmer for about 15 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Season the soup if necessary and serve.