White-Bean-and-Ham Stew

This hearty stew, garbure, from southwestern France, is loaded with vegetables, beans and meat, depending on availability. Pépin's version uses ham hocks and cabbage and is topped with toasted bread smothered in Gruyère cheese. Traditionally, red wine would be added to the last few spoonfuls of broth and sipped. Recipe adapted from "Essential Pépin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food" by Jacques Pépin, French cooking legend. Recipe published in Food & Wine: October, 2011.

Yield: 8 servings
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  • 4 meaty smoked ham hocks (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 pound(s) dried cannellini or borlotti beans (1 1/4 cups), picked over and rinsed
  • 3 quart(s) water
  • 2 medium red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large parsnip, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound(s) Savoy cabbage, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Eight 1/4-inch-thick slice(s) of peasant bread, lightly toasted
  • 2 cup(s) shredded GruyxC3xA8re or ComtxC3xA9 cheese


  1. 1. In a large pot, combine the smoked ham hocks with the cannellini beans and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Add the potatoes, leek, celery, carrot, parsnip, cabbage and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cover the stew and simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
  2. 2. Transfer the ham hocks to a plate. Simmer the stew uncovered over moderate heat until thickened and the beans and vegetables are very tender, about 45 minutes.
  3. 3. Meanwhile, discard the skin and bones from the hocks and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Add the meat to the stew as it simmers. Season the stew with pepper.
  4. 4. Preheat the broiler. Ladle the hot stew into 8 heatproof soup bowls and place the bowls on a large cookie sheet. Cover each bowl with a toast and spread the cheese on top. Broil 4 inches from the heat, rotating the bowls as necessary, until the cheese is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Serve right away.
  5. The stew can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat thoroughly, adding a little stock or water if necessary, before topping and broiling.
October 2011

This recipe is a personal recipe added by psfreeman and has not been tested or endorsed by MyRecipes.

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