This hearty flavourful soup hits all the right smoky and sweet notes for a cold winter's day. Enjoy with some grated Parmesan cheese on top and a side of cornbread. Perfect to keep in the fridge for those days you want to rush home and warm up!
In a large pot over medium heat, saute your diced bacon for about five minutes until it starts to release its fat. If it's really fatty, drain some, so that you keep about a tbsp of bacon fat in the pot. Add your carrots, onion, and garlic. Cook for about 10 min, until vegetables are soft.
Add your chicken broth, water, and all of your spices except for the salt (be cautious with the salt--this soup can easily get too salty). Cover pot with lid. Bring to a boil. Add the beans and the cabbage, and let come to a gentle boil again. At this point, bring it to a gentle simmer on a lower heat and let it simmer away for about 30 minute Stir every once in a while so nothing sticks to the bottom.
Taste and adjust seasoning. If you'd like, add the tsp of salt here, if it needs it. If you find you want to bring out the sweetness of the cabbage just a touch because your bacon is too smokey, add the sugar. (I liked the small bit of sugar.).
Simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, adjusting seasonings as needed. Discard your bay leaf and serve. Garnish with a tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan (it adds a really nice nutty depth to the soup.).
Stored in an airtight container, soup will keep well in the fridge for about 3-4 days.