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
3 1/2 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
1/2 cup Guinness or other dark beer of choice
1/4 to 1/2 tsp fennel seed
1 bay leaf
1/2 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!