We seem to make this Irish Potato Cabbage Soup with Bacon and Cheddar at least once every year around St. Patrick’s Day. We have updated this post with new photos when making it for St. Patrick’s Day 2016. For this version, we used turkey bacon for a lighter soup, and it was still very tasty. Read on for the original introduction to the post, or click here to jump down to the recipe, or skip ahead to the recipes. For more St. Patrick’s Day ideas, be sure to check out our guide to Real Irish Food.
It’s less than a month to St. Patrick’s Day! Time for this food blogger with Irish roots to share some recipes fit for the occasion. I’ll start with an update of this Irish Potato Cabbage Soup with Bacon and Cheddar.
An abundance of cabbage from our farmshare led to my first experiment with potato cabbage soup. Around St. Patrick’s Day last year, I enhanced the Irishness of the dish with the addition of some Guinness, and made the flavors richer with some bacon and cheddar cheese. This Irish Potato Cabbage Soup is hearty enough to be served as a main course. The soup could also be a nice starter for a traditional Irish meal such as corned beef and cabbage.
In a departure from my usual approach, no wine pairing for this soup–enjoy it with a nice glass of Guinness! Or perhaps you have another Irish beer or stout that’d do the trick. You can really round out the Irish experience by serving it with some soda bread. I didn’t have soda bread for this most recent batch, here’s how it looked when I did serve it with the Irish bread.
- 2 slices of bacon (turkey bacon a healthy substitute for regular if you like)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 3½ cups cabbage, 3 cups coarsely chopped and remainder sliced super thin for topping
- 4 medium red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped coarsely
- 6 sage leaves, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup Guinness or other dark beer of choice
- ¼ to ½ tsp fennel seed
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup or so shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon to a plate with a paper towel on it, set aside to cool. Drain most of the bacon fat from the pan but leave a bit for flavor. When the bacon has cooled, crumble it up into small bits to serve on the soup later.
- Return the pan to the burner on medium heat, add the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, cook for about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften.
- Stir in the carrots, followed by the cabbage and garlic.
- After the cabbage and garlic have had a few minutes to soften, add the potatoes and sage. Add a bit of salt at this point, too.
- Add the liquids: vegetable broth, water, and Guinness. Stir well to combine. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer on medium. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
- Remove from heat, and puree with a handheld blender, or transfer to puree in a food processor. I went for a consistency that still had some nice chunks of potato and other veggies, but you could go for a smoother puree if you prefer.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle bacon, cheddar and a bit of the shredded cabbage on top of each bowl to for a nice presentation. Enjoy with a glass of Guinness!
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Tool and Resources: An immersion blender is great for making soups like this. Below is a link to where you can find one on Amazon. I occasionally use Amazon affiliate links for products I recommend related to the article, which means I earn a commission if you choose to purchase using these links.