Hearty Vegetable Stew with Duck Confit and Cabbage (Garbure Gasconne)

In this humble French soup, winter produce is enhanced with the Southwest region’s beloved charcuterie.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    2 hours 15 minutes


By Kate Hill

Updated on February 17, 2023

Warming, hearty, and satisfying with large chunks of sweet winter roots, charcuterie, and onion, this soup evokes the many garbures—thick cabbage stews made with ham or bacon and stale bread—of the peasantry in the Gascon region of Southwestern France. This garbure recipe was inspired by a dish writer and cooking instructor Kate Hill enjoyed at a cafe in Salies-de-Béarn. It calls for ventrèche, an unsmoked, French cured pork bellly similar to pancetta; you can find both it and duck confit via the online retailer D’Artagnan, a well-regarded supplier of French-style charcuterie.


  • 5–6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • One 6-inch celery stalk with leaves, or a few sprigs lovage or parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • One 1½-lb. Savoy cabbage, cut into 6 thick wedges
  • 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large turnips (about 1 lb.), peeled and quartered
  • 8 oz. ventrèche, salt pork, or fresh pork belly, chopped into bite-size strips
  • 3 large medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 large leeks, rinsed well and cut into 2-in. pieces
  • 4 oz. dried white beans such as white runner or great northern, soaked overnight and drained
  • 7 garlic cloves (4 sliced, 3 halved lengthwise)
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 duck confit legs, wiped clean of most of their fat
  • 1 Tbsp. duck fat or unsalted butter
  • 6 thin slices Jambon de Bayonne or prosciutto
  • 6 thick slices crusty country bread, lightly toasted


Step 1

Make a bouquet garni: in a square of cheesecloth, bundle together the thyme, celery, and bay leaf; tie with kitchen twine to close, and set aside.

Step 2

To a large pot, add the potatoes, cabbage, onion, turnips, ventrèche, carrots, leeks, beans, sliced garlic, the bouquet garni, a tablespoon of kosher salt, and the peppercorns. Add 2 quarts of water, cover the pot, and bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender and the beans are nearly tender, 50–60 minutes. Take the duck legs by the ankle and use them to stir the pot a few times before dropping them into the soup. Continue cooking until the beans are fully tender and the duck meat easily falls off the bone when prodded with a fork, 25–30 minutes. Let the glossy duck skin slip off into the soup, then remove and discard the bones, and coarsely chop the meat into smaller pieces.

Step 3

When ready to serve, prepare the garnish: In a medium skillet, warm the duck fat over medium heat. Add the Jambon de Bayonne in batches and cook in a single layer, turning once, until lightly browned and crispy, about 4 minutes per side.

Step 4

Rub each slice of bread with a garlic half and distribute the slices among 6 wide, shallow soup bowls. Ladle the garbure over the bread. Drape a slice of griddled ham atop each bowl and serve immediately.

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