This is a French cabbage soup, not unlike the Italian minestrone but without the pasta. A good hearty meal in itself. The goose fat gives an inimitable flavour and can be bought in cans in good grocery stores or delicatessens.


  • 450g/1 lb piece of gammon
  • 1.2litres/2 pints water
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 small swede
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 350g/12oz spring cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 55g/2oz goose fat or 1 tbsp each of vegetable oil and butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • pinch of thyme
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • croĆ»tons, to serve


Put the gammon in a pan, add the water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the gammon is cooked. Remove gammon and set aside. In the meantime peel the potato, swede and carrot and chop into smallish chunks. Cook these root vegetables in the stock and add the bouquet garni and the bayleaf. Wash the cabbage and shred. Gently fry the onion and garlic in the goose fat, add the pinch of thyme and stir in the onions.

The root vegetables should now be cooked, add the fried onions and garlic to them and then liquidise. Put this soup back in the saucepan, bring to the boil and add the shredded cabbage and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add the chopped parsley. Fry the croƻtons in some more of the goose fat or oil and butter. Cut the pieces of gammon into small chunks, place in serving bowls and ladle the soup over. Serve with croƻtons.