Mimi Thorisson's Garbure des Pyrénées

October 29, 2014

All week long, Mimi Thorisson -- the blogger behind the beautiful blog Manger -- will be sharing recipes and stories from her new book, A Kitchen in France. Follow along to win a book + a bundle of Staub cookware each day, so you can pretend like you also live in the French countryside.

Today: Mimi shares her go-to soup for a cold winter's night.

Garbure des Pyrénées

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Some encounters are more serendipitous than others. You might work with someone your whole life and never become very close, or you might meet someone once and the encounter has a lasting impact. It could be something that was said, a piece of advice, a shared experience. In my case, it was a recipe.

Bernard Vanderhooven is an antiques dealer I met by chance in Bordeaux. He is a real bon vivant and we got on like a house on fire. His recipe for garbure, a hearty soup studded with chopped vegetables and pork, is simply the most comforting food you can imagine having on a dark winter’s night. When I make it, I sometimes think of Bernard coming into his lavishly decorated apartment after a long cold day at the antiques fair. I imagine him taking off his hat, greeting his cat, pouring himself a nice glass of Bordeaux, and enjoying a bowl of the soup he would have made the night before. I imagine he listens to jazz. Cheers, Bernard. 

Garbure de Pyrénées 

Serves 6 to 8

2 cups dried white beans
2 pounds smoked ham hock
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) rendered duck fat, or extra-virgin olive oil, or unsalted butter
6 carrots, halved crosswise and cut into 1 1/2-inch sticks
5 leeks, white and pale green parts, coarsely chopped
4 onions, quartered
5 garlic cloves, halved
1 medium Savoy cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 small to medium russet potatoes

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by Oddur Thorisson

Every day this week, we're giving away a copy of A Kitchen in France and a bundle of Mimi's favorite Staub cookware! To win today's copy, tell us in the comments: What's your go-to soup for cold winter nights? We'll choose winners this Friday, October 31st. (U.S. entrants only, please!) 

Update: LakelureladyonetinysparkDouble HelpingTerryKes, and rhubarb! rhubarb! rhubarb! are our winners! Enjoy your copies of A Kitchen in France and Staub cookware. 

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Mimi Thorisson is the author of Manger, a blog devoted to French cooking, and the host of La Table de Mimi on Canal+ in France. After a career in television and having lived in Hong-Kong, Singapore, London, Reykjavik, and Paris, she settled with her photographer husband, five young children, two older stepchildren, and the family's fourteen dogs in a rural farmhouse in Médoc.


Jennifer G. January 12, 2015
There's nothing better or more comforting than a big bowl of chicken noodle soup. It may be an oldie, but it is certainly a goodie!
Jessie K. November 2, 2014
Garlic broth with an egg dropped in and whatever greens I have. Sometimes I'll add a couple slices of chorizo or another type of sausage on hand.
Paula Z. October 31, 2014
Butternut squash bisque and sweet potato-kale soup, they're equally good.
Mary L. October 31, 2014
Hot potato leek soup
Karen V. October 31, 2014
I found a great recipe on the internet for the best corn chowder I've ever had!
Gonzomema October 31, 2014
Chicken soup with big chunks of veggies that really absorb the broth.
Phillie F. October 31, 2014
My go to soup is my mother's chicken noodle soup made with truffle pasta. Awesome!
Elena M. October 31, 2014
My favorite soup for winter is Ukrainian Borscht non beet version with beef broth and many vegetables: potatoes,cabbage,carrots,peppers, tomato paste....Très bon!!!!
Aaron G. October 31, 2014
Red Pepper soup is easily my favorite. Or chili....
Donata October 31, 2014
Lentil soup, with pancetta, fresh basil, and a good splash of red wine vinegar. The red wine vinegar really lifts the soup and gives it an almost sweetness, and it hits the perfect note on a chilly night!
lydiajane260 October 31, 2014
Chili--either a bowl of red or white chicken. Nothing like chili powder to warm a cold night!
Sharyl W. October 31, 2014
Chicken tortilla soup or chili
Roni October 31, 2014
This soup is our favorite! I just made it today.
Suzanne C. October 31, 2014
Minestrone with fava beans
hien D. October 31, 2014
Soups are an absolute favorite of mine, being a whole food group in itself in my eyes. My favorite soup to cuddle up to on cold winter nights is a creamy basil tomato bisque with a grilled brie sandwich for dunking. Or, if I should be so lucky, my mother's rice congee with chicken topped with caramelized shallots. I already feel warm just thinking about it!
Kim T. October 30, 2014
Favorites change almost daily in our home but for today, I'd say I'd be a happy girl with bowl of spinach and mushroom soup sprinkled with plenty of grated pecorino.
sarabclever October 30, 2014
A butternut squash soup.
dmay October 30, 2014
Chicken soup chic-a-bloc with vegetables: cabbage, carrots, green beans..., with a squeeze of lemon and a dab of sambal to taste.
Mukta V. October 30, 2014
To drive away the winter chills, I love making a hearty Italian soup with lots of chopped veggies, pasta and sausages to up the comfort factor.a
Chris A. October 30, 2014
Minestrone (can make with anything you have, basically, as long as you have tomatoes you canned in the summer!