Summer Garbure

The following recipe is not the thick, heavy rustic soup of the Pyrenees, but a much lighter version, based on one I tasted years ago, cooked by Firmin Arrambide at St Jean Pied de Port.

I use some of the goose fat I save from the Christmas goose, a little of the confit I usually make, some sliced spicy sausage such as chorizo or cabanos, and a few shreds of cured ham. I buy a knuckle end of Parma ham when I can, and use it in soups, scrambled eggs, quiches, and with pasta. If you do not have confit, you can use the fillets from duck or chicken breasts, and olive oil replaces goose fat very well; many people might find it preferable.


  • 1 teaspoon goose or duck fat, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 250 g (½ lb) young carrots peeled or scrubbed and sliced
  • 250 g (½ lb) cabbage, shredded
  • 1.5 litres ( pints) chicken or ham stock
  • 150 g (5 oz) flageolets, or cannellini beans, soaked and cooked
  • 75 g (3 oz) each shelled peas and broad beans meat additions, such as spicy sausage, cured ham, chicken breasts, etc.
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika, or piment d’Espelette


Heat the fat in a large saucepan or casserole, and lightly brown the onion. Add the carrots, cabbage, stock and flageolets. Cook until those vegetables are tender, 25 to 30 minutes, add the peas, beans and meat. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, season to taste, and serve.

If you have vegetarian guests, you can replace the stock with vegetable stock and omit the goose fat and meat additions. Squares of fried or smoked tofu can be added.