Garbure Soup

You know, I really thought I was done with soup for a while. The weather has been nice and warm down here in the Florida panhandle, balmy in just the right way – never so cold that a light jacket won’t do the trick, and never too hot for pants. But then last week I visited my old stomping grounds in Maryland, and the weather was distinctly cooler; in other words, it was soup weather.

Garbure is a peasant’s soup originally from the Aquitaine (southwest) region of France; its defining ingredients include cabbage, meat (typically ham or duck), and seasonal vegetables like beans or peas. The consistency of the soup varies – some are nice and thick thanks to copious beans or chunks of bread (a good Garbure, I’ve read, should allow to spoon to stick up on its own), while others let cabbage provide the soup’s body.

My recipe takes cues from the second idea of Garbure, partly because I don’t typically cook with beans or chunks of delicious French bread (yep, there are definitely drawbacks to a Paleo-minded lifestyle), but also because I really enjoy cabbage soup.

Garbure Soup (Gluten-free, Perfect Health Diet, Paleo, Primal)

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

2 tbsp butter or ghee, divided
1 lb bacon or ham, cut into 1″ thick strips
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper, more to taste
1/4 tsp ground fennel
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 waxy potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 head green cabbage, coarsely chopped
salt to taste
1 cup frozen peas
1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped

1. Warm 1 tbsp of the butter in a skillet over med/low heat, then add the bacon or ham strips. Brown the pork, about 4 minutes per side, then set aside to cool, about 5 minutes. Once cool, cut into bite-sized chunks and set aside.

2. While to pork cools, warm the other 1 tbsp of butter in a stockpot over medium heat, then add the chopped onion. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, pepper, and fennel and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the carrots, potatoes, bacon or ham chunks, and chicken stock; bring to a boil then reduce to med/low and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the cabbage and simmer until all of the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add the frozen peas and simmer until bright green, about 2 minutes; remove from heat, stir in the parsley, and serve.

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