Garbure – French Ham, Bean and Vegetable Stew
February 19, 2012
Aunt Suzy says . . .
I saw this Jacques Pepin recipe in Food & Wine recently and thought I’d try it. It got me curious about Garbure, so I looked it up and saw that it’s basically a stew made with smoked meat and a variety of winter vegetables and served with a hearty bread – either poured over the bread or accompanied by it. Like many peasant dishes, there are lots of variations on how this stew is made. My recipe builds on the versions I saw, but is not true to any one in particular. One day I will try making this with the duck (or goose) confit I saw in many recipes, but not today! I had already done my shopping before seeing dishes with that ingredient. In the middle of cooking this, I realized that it is a very similar in ingredients to the Old World Turkey Vegetable soup I posted in December of 2010. The wine pairing recommendation from Jacques is a Beaujolais. One thing that all the recipes stated was that a tradition is to pour half a glass of red wine onto the last few bites of the stew – called “a chabrot” – as a way to finish the meal. We weren’t wowed by this. (I am chuckling about my photo – one of the recipes said that this stew was definitely not photogenic! No matter the looks – it’s a tasty bowl of comfort.)
1 1/2 cups dried cannellini or borlotti beans, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced smoked meat (ham hocks, ham or smoked turkey – I used smoked turkey)
1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, thoroughly washed and sliced in ¼-inch half rounds
1 medium onion, diced
1 large celery rib, cut in ¼-inch slices
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 quart chicken stock or low sodium broth
1 quart water
Bouquet garnis of 5 sprigs each parsley and thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
2 medium red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and cut into ½ -inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into ½ -inch pieces
1/2 medium head Savoy cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Hearty bread and gruyere cheese for serving
Place the beans in a pot and add water to cover by 3 inches. Let stand overnight or use the quick soak method (bring the beans in the water to a boil, turn off the heat and let stand for 1-2 hours). Drain before adding to the soup.
Coat the bottom of a large stock pot or Dutch oven with the olive oil and heat to medium high. Sauté the leek, onion, celery, carrot and meat for about 10 minutes, until soft and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and sauté another minute or two.
Add the liquid, along with the soaked beans, bouquet garnis, bay leaves and whole cloves. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Remove the bouquet garnis.
Add the potatoes, parsnip and cabbage, bring to a boil again and simmer for another 20 minutes covered until the vegetables are tender. Remove the lid and simmer for 20-30 minutes to thicken to a stew.
Serving options: You can serve the stew with slices of bread on the side. Or you can toast the bread and place in the middle of the bowl and pour the stew over it. You can toast the bread and melt the cheese on top of it. You can place this on top of a bowl of stew or place in the bowl and pour the stew over. It seems the most common way of serving in all the recipes I reviewed was to pour the soup over the bread (with or without the melted cheese).