This is a really good soup, but it seemed to lack "something" when I made it the first time. The SECOND time I made it, I substituted salted butter for the margarine and added 1 good sized Vidallia onion (skinned and sliced), 3 (fresh and scraped) carrots and 1 parsnip (ditto). When I served "my soup" to my family (adults), I called it "Root Soup". Except that, after they were finished giggling at Mom and her idyos, they gobbled it up like little I had ever seen before. Want to/need to add meat (which I plan to do in the future)? I'd suggest either Italian sausage or Kielbasa (something with FLAVOR). Want to add Cheese? My personal favorite is Velveeta (it melts so easily) but I think Parmesan, Locatelli, Romano and/or any "goat cheese" (perhaps FETA) would "work" very well here, too. In brief, while I genuinely like the idea of using this soup as a "base", there's SO MUCH MORE that it can be. IMO, "creaming" this soup is a MUST; use either 1/2+1/2 or heavy/whipping cream. I generally "pulverize" (using my immersion blender) at least 1/3 of my "pot" before I serve. I find that this allows to a really great texture/"dining experience".
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This is a really good soup, but it seemed to lack "something" when I made it the first time....