Okay, this one is pretty rustic. Described as traditional ‘peasant food’ a Gabure Bigourdane is a hearty, meaty, soupy casserole typical of the region of Gascony.
The word ‘gabure’ simply means ‘made with lots of different vegetables’ and that is exactly what this dish is. The recipe can vary from village to village and with the seasons but the core ingredients, or base, is always the same: green cabbage, beans and duck.
This dish really comes into its own when cooked long and slow, and as with most dishes like this it is always better the next day. Traditionally, a Gabure would always be on the hearth in Gascony households of last century, being eaten from and added to each day as the flavours intensified and developed as the casserole continued cooking.
In Gascony, the meat added is usually duck, in other regions of the Midi-Pyrenees pork and ham is favoured, however many recipes exist that call for both and sometimes a sausage as well, so just go with what you feel like or have on hand!
But, one thing you must do if you want to keep it traditional is that you must finish your own bowl of Garbure by pouring some red wine into it, and drinking the soup out of the plate, traditionally called Chabro which means ‘drunken broth’. Oh well, when in Rome ...
Recipe adapted from the Pyrenean Co-operative of Tarbais Bean Growers.
- 200g Tarbais Beans (white beans)
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 2 carrots roughly chopped
- 2 turnips roughly chopped
- 1 leek, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 3 potatoes, roughly quartered depending on size
- 1/2 a green cabbage, sliced
- Ham hock
- Bouquet garni
- A few sprigs of parsley, chopped
- Confit duck pieces (I used 2 legs, but more if needed)
- Salt and pepper to season
How to do it
Melt some butter (or goose fat if you happen to have it handy) in a large, heavy based stockpot and sauté the onion, leek, garlic and carrot for 5 minutes or so without letting it brown.
Cover with 2 – 2.5 litres of water and add the potatoes, turnips, sliced cabbage, ham hock, bouquet garni and parsley. Add the beans remembering to rinse and discard any discoloured beans before throwing them in the pot!
Season with salt and pepper and bring back to the boil before covering and turning down to a slow simmer for the next few hours (at least 90 minutes, but the longer the better). There’s no time limit, just remember to check and stir occasionally.
After a couple of hours, remove the ham hock. The meat should just fall from the bone with the long, slow cooking. Flake the meat into the soup and stir.
About 30 minutes before you want to eat, brown your confit duck in a hot oven for 5 minutes to crisp the skin (I did not do this part!). Then transfer to the soup to heat through for 5 minutes or so before serving with the soup and some crusty baguette.