Cabbage Soup with Preserved Goose

Garbure du Béarn

Preparation info

  • Servings:


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

In cookbooks of the ninteenth century, garbures are panades; thick soups, the body of which is often but not necessarily that of cabbage, baked with alternating layers of dried bread, producing something akin to a moist pudding containing no remainder of loose liquid. The only garbures retained in today’s kitchens are those of the southwest; thick cabbage soups (to underline the importance of their consistency, it is said that a wooden spoon or a ladle thrust into the soup should stand erectly), which, although served over dried bread crusts, are not genuine panades. Garbures may contain little else than a piece of salt pork and some potatoes, but that baptized béarnaise, containing preserved goose and made, preferably, in the spring of the year, when a selection of tender young vegetables abounds, has a rich suavity unknown to the others. Preserved goose finds its two most celebrated roles in this garbure and a cassoulet. A variety of small, green-leafed cabbage, the heads of which are elongated, loosely formed, and picked before maturity, is shredded and added directly to the soup. This cabbage is not found on the American market and it is best to first parboil other cabbages. Replacing the white beans in the following recipe, tender but fully developed broad (fave) beans, shelled and individually peeled (each bean measuring a short inch at the widest part, the flesh still clear green and easily pierced beneath a somewhat leathery skin) lend a particularly sumptuous quality that is enhanced by the presence of savory in the bouquet. A couple of handsful of freshly shelled tender peas, added at the same time as the goose, are always welcome. A finely chopped mixture of fresh pork fat, garlic, and parsley is often stirred in at this time also; its value, I think, is more real in the absence of preserved goose.