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I also agree this is the best soup ever. I had this a couple of weeks ago when I attended a homesteading workshop at Homestead Heritage in Waco. I didn't have pickled jalapenos so I had to wait a couple of weeks for my jalapenos to pickle before I tried it.
OK, I second this as the best soup ever. I made the following modifications to reduce the fat: fat-free chicken broth (Costco), fat free half and half, skipped the butter altogether, used ham instead of bacon, and I used one fresh jalapeno seeded. It is perfect. I'd consider your brown sugar suggestion, by why monkey with it? This is great!
I've been to Homestead Heritage, and yes, this is the best soup ever! I made this soup a couple months ago and it was pretty good, but I used fresh jalapenoes, and guessed on the amount and it was too mild. (But still SOO tasty) I will make this again tomorrow and add more fresh jalapenoes. This worth the effort and is so warm and comforting for the wintertime.