French Cabbage Soup, Garbure Gasconne

Blustering snow and icy rains found us craving a hearty soup this week.   Gazing down the steep cobblestone hills winding down from our house, we opted for caution, and a pantry raid, in favor of driving.  For our winter-storm-fare, we dunked homemade sourdough bread in aromatic bowls of French Cabbage Soup, and dreamed of beaches!   Our recipe for French Cabbage Soup, Garbure Gasconne, is a modified version of this delicious cabbage soup from the French region of Gascony.  This soup smartly employs steaming and simmering techniques to gently extract the delicate flavors from winter root vegetables.  French Cabbage Soup is a warming vegetable soup with a depth of flavor that far exceeds its humble ingredients.  This recipe is adapted from The Country Cooking of France.

Yield: Serves 8

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 leeks, thinly sliced (substitute 1 medium onion)
  • 1 turnip, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 medium celeriac, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 parsnips, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1/2 head of a small green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 6 new potatoes, unpeeled, cut into medium sized pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 cups vegetable/chicken stock (low salt)
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped (for garnish)


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot on medium low heat.   Add the leeks, turnip, carrot, celeriac, parsnips, cabbage, celery, garlic, potatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper and stir to combine. 
  2. Reduce the heat to low, cover, stirring occasionally, and allow the vegetables to sweat for 25-30 minute, until they are almost tender.  This is essentially a steaming application and you do not want the vegetables to brown, so make sure to keep your heat very low.
  3. When the vegetables are almost tender, add the drained beans and broth.  Stir to combine, and keep covered, bring to a simmer. 
  4. Simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. 
  5. When the vegetables are tender, remove the pot from the heat.  Remove the bay leaves.  Taste the soup and add salt or pepper to your preference. 
  6. Serve hot garnished with fresh parsley and crusty sourdough bread!


  • This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and can also be frozen into individual lunches.
  • This soup is typically served with meat, ham, bacon or duck, stirred in towards the end.    
  • The additions of parsnip or celeriac are our own, and are not traditional elements to this soup.