Winter continues… This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was just perfect for a cold week! Garbure is a meaty vegetable soup that truly sticks to your ribs. In Southwest France, where this soup hails from, garbure typically includes duck confit. Here in the US, though the ingredient list is long, this version can made from ordinary supermarket ingredients.
This is the kind of soup that’s best prepared on a lazy afternoon. You start by soaking some little white (Navy) beans. Then, you brown a pork shoulder. That’s when I realized my large Dutch oven wasn’t going to be big enough for the batch of soup, so I switched over to the giant stock pot.
A variety of alliums (onion, leek, shallots AND garlic) are sautéed before adding big chunks of carrots, turnips, potatoes, and celery, the browned pork shoulder, a duck leg, the beans and lots of liquid. I used just 1 quart of chicken broth diluted with water because I felt the ingredients would add enough flavor. Oh, and I can’t forget the cabbage, piles of shredded cabbage. This simmers for an hour before adding some sliced sausage.
I’m never quite sure what type of sausage to use when a recipe calls for “garlic sausage”. Is it kielbasa, bratwurst, or something else entirely? Google didn’t help. I found a fresh garlic-herb sausage at Whole Foods, so I used that. Because it wasn’t precooked, I pan-fried it before slicing and adding to the pot. Then, we had to wait for another hour of simmering.
Finally, the pork and duck meat is shredded and added back to the pot. I’m not sure why my pork shoulder didn’t falling apart. Maybe it needed to cook longer? I had to chop the meat into thin strips rather than just shredding it with a fork.
I know that food safety-wise, it’s not a good idea to put a big pot of hot soup into the refrigerator, warming up the rest of the food in there. I followed Howard’s favorite advice for this time of year: “Use the winter!” That means putting the pot out on the porch for a few hours or in the trunk of the car overnight. I opted for the car, though I’ll admit it reeked of cabbage for a couple of days afterwards.
This recipe makes A LOT of soup. We enjoyed it for several satisfying lunches and dinners, and I froze 3 quart-sized containers for later.
I also like this soup’s connection to charcuterie, at least at our house. The pork shoulder was the leftover half from a recent adventure making pork rillettes. And, the optional duck leg called for in the soup was the catalyst for Howard to make another batch of duck confit (his favorite, or should I say my favorite, of his kitchen DIY projects). The duck confit wasn’t ready to use in this soup, but it will be delicious next week served over lentils, a favorite dinner around here.
Thumbs up from both of us. Every spoonful is full of flavor, lots of different flavors. I love ending the month on a winner!
Of course, there have been specific recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table that have become favorites. Lazy People’s Chicken is at the top of that list. However, more than the recipes, it’s the techniques and “formulas” that I’ve learned and added to my repertoire that make this book such a treasure.
This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was one of these non-recipe formulas. Christine’s Simple Party Soups was this week’s challenge. Dorie offers a trio of soups: red pepper, asparagus, and broccoli. The recipes were as simple as you can imagine. Basically, the ingredient list includes just two things: the featured vegetable and some stock. Hmmpf! How could that be tasty?
Most soups I make, and I make a lot of soups, start with sautéed onions in butter and oil and maybe some carrots, celery, and garlic before adding the main vegetable. For this soup, there’s none of that. You add chopped vegetables to boiling stock and simmer until the vegetables are cooked, then puree in the blender. That’s it. That’s all.
The end result should be called Essence of Vegetable Soup. The flavor of the featured vegetable comes through loud and clear. And, it’s January, so vegetables aren’t even at their peak. (I used frozen asparagus, fresh red peppers and broccoli).
To top the soups, Dorie offers instructions for spiced whipped cream. I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream, so, instead, I used dollops of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of the recommended spice, a different one for each soup. That would be red pepper flakes (I used Aleppo) for the red pepper soup, cardamom for the asparagus, and curry powder for the curry. I loved the light touch of spice with each soup. I’m wondering how it would be to add the spice to the soup as it simmers, but I’m worried that the pure vegetable essence that I also loved would be lost.
Each soup was distinct and delicious. Though I reduced the liquid by two-thirds because I like my soup thicker than Dorie does, the red pepper was still very thin compared with the others. My favorite is either the asparagus or the broccoli. It’s hard to choose. Howard was away most of the week, but liked the red pepper soup as a starter for last night’s dinner. He brought asparagus soup for lunch today, but I haven’t gotten a report yet.
My mind is running through the roster of other vegetables that could be used. I’m hoping this will be equally successful with winter’s root vegetables, like carrots, squash, or rutabaga. I’ll be giving it a try.