Winter Wonder Food – Chicken Garbure

Those of you who have read my blog before know that I live in Gascony, SW France. You also know that I am completely mad about the cuisine of this gastronomic region. This is the home of Armangac and of all things duck. The food here is robust, it is rustic and it is hearty.

What I really respect is the notion of no waste. They use just about every morsel of a duck and they are far more open to offal of any sort on the whole than we Brits. They honour the animals by eating every last bit of them. Just as it should be.

There is a real sense of history and tradition here when it comes to food. Just this week I went for dinner at my neighbours house and they cooked me a Pot au Feu – in a stunning weathered black pot hanging right over the burning logs of their open fire. Such a simple dish but utterly delicious. They offered up 5 different cuts of beef, braised for 5 hours with unfussy chunks of vegetables.  Honestly, I was in heaven.

I am a big fan of the Winter dishes here. The rich stews and daubes, the cassoulet and the gratins and panades. Fortifying and unpretentious, making Winter so much more bearable.

Another such local speciality on my Winter wonder food list is Garbure – a sort of cross between a soup and a stew. Traditionally made with shredded confit duck meat and loaded with vegetables and haricot beans. It is so easy to make and will surprise you with it’s depth of flavour. Not to mention that it is cheap to make and goes an awfully long way.

It’s a dish that would have been cooked in a big pot over the fire which could bubble away for hours, adding whatever bits and bobs of vegetables there was depending on the season.  A peasant dish, undoubtedly made over and over again in the farmhouse kitchens of the many old houses round these parts. A dish that has stood the test of time and for good reason.

I have in fact posted my own recipe for traditional Garbure on here before, a long time ago. And so this time, I decided to somewhat re-invent it. It occurred to me that those of you living in the UK might find some of my recipes hard to make as the ingredients are not so readily available for you. Confit duck is everywhere here, bought in a tin, it is almost a ready meal! But I am guessing that it might be expensive and hard to find back in England…

So, why not make a Garbure using chicken? I was a little worried that it might not have the same powerful flavour without the duck, so I opted to add lots of garlic and rosemary. I used the shredded meat from two leftover chicken legs and by the time I had crammed the pot full with bacon, onions, potatoes, leek, cabbage, peas and haricot beans, the resulting Chicken Garbure gave me 8 hearty portions!

Trust me on this one, what might seem to be just a big pot with various stuff thrown in with not much thought, is in fact one of the most delicious, value for money, and comforting dishes I know. A Gascon great – this is Winter super food at it’s best.

Chicken Garbure

Serves 8

1 tbsp duck fat (if you don’t have it then olive oil will do)
1 onion, chopped
200g smoked lardons
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
200g new potatoes, cut into bite size chunks
1 leek, sliced
2 litres of chicken stock
1/4 of savoy cabbage, finely sliced
800g can of haricot  blanc beans (could substitute cannellini beans)
2 cooked chicken legs, meat shredded from the bones
3 handfuls of frozen peas
2 heaped tbsp of creme fraiche

In a large pot, heat your duck fat and fry your onion and lardons for 5 minutes. Then add your garlic and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes until it all smells divine.

Add your new potatoes and leek and pour in the chicken stock. Leave to gently simmer for 25 minutes.

Chicken Garbure cooking

Once the potatoes are cooked through, add your cabbage, beans, peas and chicken and heat through for 5 minutes. Stir in the creme fraiche and serve,.

Creamy chicken garbure

This soup will keep in the fridge quite happily for a few days.

Chicken Garbure in a bowl

I am entering this recipe into a competition Destinology Reimagine a Classic competition. I think my chicken Garbure fits the bill.

I am also popping it into the following blogging challenges: Extra Veg hosted by Utterly Scrummy Food for Families & Fuss Free Flavours.

Extra Veg Badge

And Credit Crunch Munch hosted by Fab Food 4 All & Fuss Free Flavours.

Credit Crunch Munch

16 thoughts on “Winter Wonder Food – Chicken Garbure”

  1. Your garbure variations here sound very fine to me and this would go down very well indeed on a January day. Garbure makes me very nostalgic for days spent in the south west. It always seems particularly memorable when served from huge pots at communal village meals accompanied by local wines served in plastic bottles. Happy days. Incidentally it’s a little easier to buy duck confit in England these days – Waitrose even have their own brand, although I haven’t tried it so I can’t say if that makes me nostalgic too.

    1. Hi Phil, I am happy to hear that confit is becoming more easily available in the UK. It is such a great dish on it’s own but also, theshredded duck meat can be used for tonnes of other things too. Great in salads or potato cakes or in a Parmentier de Canard. I also love the village meals where food like this is served. So unfussy but delicious. They do community here so well. xx

  2. Very yummy ! I’d love to doing it ! It’s look delicious.. Can’t wait to ..
    Very nice to catch you here Madame .Anne !

  3. Ofcourse I still like to try them out ! Especially in the weekends ! I find them very tasteful and colorful!! Hope to visit the south as soon as possible..and maybe to visit your kitchen

  4. Hi Anneli

    We’re going to try the Garbure this evening – it’s a beautiful chrisp day here in the North Cotswolds.

    We’ve still got some duck that we brought back in the Autumn, but sadly very little wine (I always underestimate how much we go through!).

    We have a house in Fources and are looking forward to returning soon. Do you shop in Condom – I think I may have seen you and the children there (and once asked you which was the dry sparkling wine!)?


    1. Hi Paul, thanks for the lovely feedback 🙂 I am very happy to hear you are making my Garbure – I do hope you enjoyed it! And yes, I do shop in Condom sometimes! Would you recognise me from my photo on here? I adore Fources! Such a lovely village. Perhaps we will run into eachother again….be sure to say hello 🙂

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