Ham soup is a tradition.
Ever year after we eat our holiday ham, we make ham soup. In the past, I’d always make a “ham and 15 bean” soup, but these days we don’t eat as many legumes as we used to so now, every year I try to come up with a new ham soup that’s just as filling.
Last year, I shared a recipe for Cantonese Ham and Lotus Root Soup – it’s delicious! This year, I’m sharing a recipe for a French soup: Garbure. It’s pronounced: GAHR-boohr. Garbure originated in Gascony and is a simple French soup that’s loaded with salty meat and veggies. It typically calls for white beans too, but with all these vegetables, you won’t even notice that the are missing (did my trick work? did you notice I intentionally left out the word “beans” in that sentence?).
I used carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, turnips and cabbage in this recipe. You can add other veggies if you want: parsnips, kohlrabi, potatoes, peas etc. There are no rules when it comes to what vegetables you can add to this peasant soup – use what you’ve got.
Garbure soup is so hearty and thick that the word “soup” should really be in air quotes. You’re supposed to eat this “soup” with a fork.
Yes, really. This soup is meant to be eaten with a fork.
That’s actually how this soup got its name: Garbure. The word “garb” is used to describe a big bundle of grain (technically: sheaves of grain) on a coat of arms in heraldry. Giant pitchforks were used to pick up these big bundles. I guess the the big bundles of grain are analogous to the bundles of vegetables in this soup which require the use of a fork (unless you have some serious spoon skills like me).
Ironically, this soup is grain-free – despite “garb” meaning a bundle of grain. I suppose that’s not really the point though…
Doesn’t this soup look delicious? I mean, move over chicken soup. This is what I want the next time I’m feeling under the weather, or well, whenever.
Garbure is usually made with salted meat – I obviously used ham but duck is an option too. I had white wine on hand, so I used a little of that but you can use red if you want or leave it out altogether. That’s the beauty of this soup – there’s really no set way to make it. This is my recipe but you can easily adapt this to become your own. You just need broth, vegetables and time.
Time is key. Cook this soup slowly over a long period of time. You can even keep the soup in the slow cooker for several days, adding more broth and vegetables as needed to make this stew last you longer. That’ll mean less time in the kitchen and more time for netflix and chill. And to clarify, by netflix and chill, I literally mean binge watching what’s on netflix and nothing else…
Serve this Garbure with a side of buttered (gluten-free) toast/flatbread. I hope this soup warms your insides with every slurp you take!
- 1 leftover ham bone with meat
- 10 cups water, enough to cover the ham bone
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 Serrano pepper, sliced but still intact
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 medium leeks, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
- 1 large sweet potato, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery, diced
- 2 turnips, diced
- ½ head napa or savoy cabbage, cut into strips
- 1 small handful of parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Add the ham bone, water, apple cider vinegar, bay leaves and serrano pepper to the slow cooker. Set on high for 5 hours.
- Remove the bone from the pot and take the meat off of it. Add the meat and bone back to the pot and cook for another 2 hours on high.
- Next, add oil to a saute pan over medium heat, then add the onion, leeks and garlic cloves. Saute for 7-8 minutes, or until the onions have started to caramelize.
- Add this to the slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients.
- Cook for 3 hours on high, or until the vegetables are tender.