Garbure Gets Gourmandistan Ready For 2015

Black-eyed Pea GarbureOnce again Gourmandistan enters a new year, and once again we enjoy black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, without resorting to Hoppin’ John. Steve managed to come down with a nasty cold between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, meaning Michelle had to manage the kitchen by herself while Steve wheezed, coughed and slept in isolation. (While Michelle missed her sous chef, we both hope the bug has missed her.) While sniffly Steve was in no shape to help search for a recipe, Michelle came up with yet another delicious way to deliver on her annual dip into Southern superstition by modifying a recipe for Garbure Gersoise, using black-eyed peas instead of the traditional white beans.

Savoy Cabbage

Loaded with Savoy cabbage, duck confit and rich duck stock, the garbure (a rustic soup we’ve made before) was an excellent way for us to greet the new year. We’re not certain if the soup will increase our fortune, but it has inspired a New Year’s resolution: we very much would like to return to France this year.

Black-eyed peas

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is said to bring luck and good fortune.

Happy New Year, everyone!


(inspired by this recipe from Saveur)

  • 2 legs duck confit
  • 6 oz. bacon, chopped into lardons
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into ½″ pieces
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 stalk celery, diced into ½″ pieces
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 10 cups duck (or chicken) stock
  • 2 c. (about 13 oz.) dried black-eyed peas
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes (about 8 oz. total), peeled and diced into ½” pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Brown duck legs in a large soup pot over medium heat. Remove legs from pan and let cool. Remove any uncooked fat from legs, chop and return it to the pot. Shred duck meat, place in a bowl and set aside.

Add bacon to pan and cook until crisp. With a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer bacon and duck cracklings to the bowl containing the duck meat, leaving the fat in the pot.

Add onion to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. Then add carrots, leeks and celery. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened. Season with a bit of salt. Add garlic, thyme and bay leaves and cook for a few minutes more.

Add wine and bring to a boil. Cook for several minutes, until wine is reduced by half. Add stock, black-eyed peas and parsley sprigs and return to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until black-eyed peas are almost tender. Check after around 45 minutes. Uncover and stir in potatoes. Add more stock or some water, if needed. When potatoes are almost soft, after about 10 or 15 minutes, stir in cabbage. After about 5 minutes, stir in reserved duck meat and bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fish out and discard parsley and bay leaves before serving.


  1. That sounds great. Somewhere in what I ate this afternoon, there was some Savoy cabbage. I remember seeing it being prepared and I ate everything, but I can’t for the life of me remember where the cabbage was…
    Happy New Year 🙂

  2. Wonderful! Happy New Year to both of you. I did know about the tradition of eating black-eyed peas, but I never seem able to overcome my laziness on the 1st of January to cook beans; I made Russian barley and mushroom soup yesterday evening. The French don’t seem to have any special “lucky” dish for the New Year, unless overdosing on oysters and/or foie gras on the 31st counts as a lucky omen. Perhaps I should make a New Year’s resolution to do something about that laziness of mine… oh well, Bonne année, bonne santé !

    • Oh, if you find the cure for laziness, be sure and let me know what it is. 😉 The one good thing I’ll say about black-eyed peas is that, compared to other dried beans, they cook very quickly. Bonne année, Darya!

  3. Had no idea about the meaning of eating black-eyed peas on New Year´s day, in fact, I never had them at all (they´re not very common here in Germany). I love that duck confit in your soup, another thing on my (imaginary) list of things to do very soon this year!
    Happy, healthy, lucky 2015, may it be full of joy and gourmandise!

  4. My husband and I made sure to eat our black-eyed peas last year but 2014 was like a roller coaster — every bit of good news had bad news following it (hm, maybe I should reverse my thinking and say ‘for all the bad news, there was some good too’?). At any rate, we decided this year to wait until the 2nd to partake in some Hoppin’ John. Fingers crossed! Anyways, happy new year to both of you — I’m sure 2015 will be full of good eats and hopefully fun travels as well. =)

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