Friday, 2 October 2009

Autumn Stews from France -Garbure

Garbure is a thick French soup of bacon with cabbage and other vegetables, usually with cheese and stale bread added. There is some controversy over its name - some say it came from the Spanish garbias, for "stew" and others say it comes from the Basque garbe, for "sheaf" or "bunch". It originated in Gascony in south-west France and was the daily sustenance of Gascon peasantry. It differed from one home to the next and varied with the rhythms of the seasons, the resources of the cook, and with household income.

The basic principle behind this dish is the lengthy simmering of an assortment of vegetables and meats, generally meats preserved en confit. As far as vegetables go, anything is possible. The cabbage may be accompanied by broad beans, fresh or dried, fava beans, mange-tout, potatoes, turnips, peas, onions, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, beetroot, lettuce, chestnuts, nettles or borage.
Frequently the meal would end with a traditional chabrot, which is a custom of consuming the liquid left in the bottom of one's bowl after eating the solid contents and then mixing half a glass of red wine in it.


8-12 chicken wings
6 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 medium size potato, peeled and chopped
100g smoked bacon, chopped into lardons
100g smoked garlic sausage, chopped
2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
½ Savoy cabbage, cored and shredded finely
150ml dry white wine
1.5l chicken stock
75g grated gruyère cheese (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 180C, Gas 4. Toss chicken wings in half the olive oil. Place in roasting pan, season and cook for about 20 minutes until brown and tender. Remove and cool. Sauté the onion, potato, bacon, sausage and garlic in the oil with the thyme leaves in a large saucepan for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cabbage shreds, stirring in well until they wilt, then stir in the wine and cook down until evaporated.Pour in the stock, add seasoning and bring to the boil. Simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes until the cabbage softens. Meanwhile, add the chicken wings to the pot for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Alternatively, add the gruyère before serving so it melts in the heat. Check the seasoning and serve piping hot with chunks of crusty bread.

As for wines to recommend with this dish I would say “think pink!”. Bordeaux Rosé and Clairets pair well with food and Clairet du Chateau des Lisennes (£5.87) is one of the best that Bordeaux offers and won the gold medal in Brussels in 2006. This fragrant wine is a deep raspberry pink with violet reflections. The aroma is complex; it has raspberry, peach and spice overtones. It is soft and full, and the fruity taste of blackberries, redcurrants and raspberries explodes in the mouth giving intense round flavours.

Chateau Lamothe Vincent Rosé (£4.94) is another good choice – it's a fabulous dry, deep, dark pomegranate pink, bursting with fruit and is one of the 3 best Bordeaux Rosés in 2006 TOP VINS, silver medal winner both at the Challenge International du Vin 2006 and Concours des Vins d'Aquitaine 2006. It is made with two grapes - Cabernet Sauvignon which gives tannic backbone and structure. This grape is very aromatic in young wines with heady aromas of blackcurrant. Cabernet Franc is the other grape used and this provides acidity, fragrance and strawberry-like fruit qualities. Once the fruit has hit your taste buds the dryness follows through and the wine is elegant and refreshing.

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