This is essentially a variation of the spicy sausage potato soup I posted previously, and while that was really yummy, I like this one even more.
Ingredients (I don't recall making many ingredients lists before, I think I have some editing to do!):
1/4 to 1/2 lb smoked bacon ends (the package sizes vary at the local meat market)
1 onion diced
1 Tbs chopped garlic
2-3 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 in pieces
8 cups water
2 Tbs chicken base (Better than Bouillon is a wonderful brand and is found with bouillon cubes)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Crushed red pepper
First trim the fat from the bacon ends to help reduce fat content of dish, then in a Dutch oven cook over medium to medium high heat in a Tbs of olive oil for 7 to 8 minutes, remove bacon from pan and onto towel-lined plate.
Next add remainder of olive oil to pan and cook onion until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute (you don't want garlic to burn or it will become bitter).
Add water, chicken base and potatoes to Dutch oven, bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft and break with a fork.
Ladle about half of the onion and potatoes with some broth into a blender and puree. Return back to Dutch oven, add bacon, black pepper, white pepper, crushed red pepper and thyme to taste. I'd approximate 1/4 tsp each of the pepper and 1/2 tsp thyme. Let simmer 30 minutes.
During the last 5 minutes of cooking up to serving time, add cheddar cheese and stir to blend.
I served this with toasted Irish soda bread.