A most amazing soup, & a nice way to welcome the cooler (or so I've been told) weather.
To save myself a step & also keep from making two batches, one vegetarian & one omnivore, I skipped the 'cooking bacon' stage.
Instead, I added olive oil for extra fat & sprinkled in a bit of smoked salt. I also added a bit more at the end.
In addition, a generous handful of grated cheese (combination Parmesan & smoked Gouda) was stirred in before serving.
The result was a rich, smoky & wonderful soup.
Requested by the second grader for his school lunch. Twice.