Garbure
(thick meat, bean and vegetable soup)

Garbure is a Famous Traditional French Recipe from the South-West of France.

It is basically a meat, bean and vegetable soup, but it's one of those soups which is a meal in itself.

Usually served for an evening meal over two courses.

The pieces of meat are taken out and kept warm, served as the main course with gherkins (cornichons), pickled hot peppers or salad.

While the soup is served first, poured over thick slices of french bread.

This is traditional, french country cooking at it's best. Wholesome, nutritious, organic and delicious.

Ideally cooked in a 'Toupin' which is a earthenware, high, round bellied casserole. But any large pot will do!

There are many variations of Garbure, depending on the season you are cooking it, and due to what vegetables are available and what part of South-West France you live in. But they all have one thing in common, when you serve this rich thick soup, it is truly not authentic unless when you put it on the table, the ladle stands up in it, on it's own.

The most special Garbure is when you add a 'lou trebuc' (the icing on the cake) ie. 'Confit'

It can be a long process, and preparation is the key to making a good Garbure.

The recipe that follows is one version, you can adapt variations to suit you, and your palette, budget and what vegetables are available.

serves:- 4-6, preparation time:- 30 mins (not including soaking beans if dried), cooking time:- 2½-3 hours,

Ingredients

* 250g or ½ lb of salt pork belly, chop into large chunks
* 175g or 6oz of 'jambon de campagne' smoked raw ham
* 6 pieces of 'confit de canard'
* 1 bouquet garni
* 250g or ½ lb of white haricot beans (soaked overnight if dried)
* 2 leeks (trimmed, slit and washed, the white plus about 2 inches of green)
* 250g or ½lb of potatoes, (peel and roughly chop)
* 4 sticks of celery (trimmed, washed and chopped)
* 3 small white turnips (peeled, washed and chopped)
* 1 large onion, roughly chopped
* 4 cloves of garlic (peeled)
* 1 savoy cabbage (shredded)
* salt and pepper
* 3 pints or 1.75 litres of water

optional additions, can be made without, but will taste better with!

* 1 onion stuck with 2 cloves
* 1 duck or goose carcuss or bone from 'jambon de campagne'

method

* add pork belly with carcuss or bone and beans to the water, bring to the boil, skimming frequently

* add the onion with cloves and turn down to a simmer for about 1 hour

* meanwhile take the leeks, onion and sweat down till softened, add to the soup along with the tunips, the bouquet garni and some salt and pepper

* leave to simmer for another 45 mins

* after discard the carcuss or bone and onion with cloves at this point

* now add the potatoes and the 'jambon de campagne', bring back to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 30 mins

* finally add the confit and the savoy cabbage, simmer for another 20-30 mins

* you will know if it's ready be standing a ladle in it and it stays upright!

* take out the meat and a little of the juice, place in a pre-warmed platter and cover with foil to keep warm

* take some chunky slices of french bread, use stale if possible and line your soup bowls

* now ladle the delicious, thick, soup onto the bread and serve as a starter

* serve the meat afterwards with cornichons or a salad.

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