There are pots of soup…and then there are pots of soup! And this super creamy, thick and rich, “inside out” Cheesy Chicken Pierogi Soup with Bacon & Spinach is one helluva pot of soup!
I used to love to go to the Polish Festival back in Indiana where I lived for many years, where there was a large population of polish people that lived there. SO much fun!!
The music, the dancing, and the FOOD. OMG the food!!!
Polish sausage, cabbage rolls, and pierogi, OH MY!!
Fun meats on a stick for snacks, full plates of food for a whole meal, and desserts galore! I swear, you had to fast the day before to be able to try even a fraction of the foods!
*This photo is Pinterest friendly!
Though I love sausage, I’m a noodle ‘n dumpling girl. So, “pierogi” were always my favorite!
If you’ve never heard of them, “pierogi” are a wonderful, old-fashioned dumpling made with noodle dough, (sometimes called “pasta pockets”), that are filled with wonderful fillings such as seasoned mashed potatoes (sometimes with added cheeses and herbs), ground meats, spinach or cabbage or sauerkraut, and even dessert-style ones filled with fruit!
Here is a photo of what pierogi look like. *Photo from the Free Dictionary.
So, longing for a hearty pot of soup being it fall, and seeing what I had on hand and didn’t have to spend but a few dollars on, I thought to take the concept of pierogi and turn it into a nice, pot of soup!
And BOY did it come out delicious!!
Thick. Rich. Creamy. LOADED. With goodies. I mean, like, stand a spoon up hearty!
You could certainly use ground sausage, or even sliced polish sausage, but I decided to start this pot by stewing a whole chicken that I already had in the freezer.
There’s no need to buy, or use up a stash of homemade chicken stock, because you can just use the broth that the chicken cooked in.
From there I sautéed some onions and garlic, added the broth, seasonings and potatoes, and simmered until the veggies were tender.
Then just add the cream, cheeses, and spinach, thicken, and you’re mostly done! Last is to just cook the noodles and stir them into the pot, too!
As if this homestyle soup isn’t delicious enough just like this, my favorite is, to add a spoonful of sour cream on top and some crisp-cooked, peppered and crumbled bacon!
Bacon just makes everything smile, doesn’t it?
So if you’re longing for a big ol’ pot of soup on a chilly fall night, one that’s comforting when you have a cold, doesn’t cost a million bucks, and sticks to your ribs, you’ll want to give this one try!
Grandmas were right. Soup cures everything.
And this one is sure to be a family keeper! Enjoy!!
- 1 large whole stewing chicken (5 - 5½ lbs.), innards removed and inside rinsed with cold water
- 1 large bay leaf
- 4 Tbl. (1/2 a stick) butter
- 1 medium or large onion, chopped (as much/little as you like)
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups reserved broth (pour rest into second pot)
- 1 Tbl. Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
- 4 medium to large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ to ¾ inch cubes
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 3 Tbl. cornstarch
- 16 oz. Velveeta, cut into cubes
- 2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1 (10 oz) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- ½ of a 24 oz. bag frozen Reame's Homestyle Egg Noodles, cooked and drained
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ tsp. regular black pepper (or to taste)
- salt to taste (I added a ½ tsp.)
- *garnish bowls with spoonfuls of sour cream & chopped crispy peppered bacon (a half of a strip per serving)
- In medium stock pot, add whole chicken, 12 cups water (or enough to cover), and 1 large bay leaf, (plus 2 large carrots, 2 ribs celery and 1 onion, quartered, if you have some but not necessary), bring to a simmer, and simmer for 1½ - 2 hours with lid tilted. (Until very tender and legs fall away easily.) *I like to skim off the foam when the chicken is first starting cook.) Carefully remove with tongs, letting excess liquid from cavity drain away into pot, and place chicken into a large bowl and cover loosely until cool enough to handle. Strain broth of bay leaf, and bones that have fallen away, (and veggies if using), with a large, fine mesh strainer, into large stock pot. (*This will be used for the soup, and the extra to help cook the noodles in.) Discard bay leaf and veggies.
- To the smaller pot (that you just cooked the chicken in), add butter and onions, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Remove 6 cups broth from the large pot and add back to smaller pot that you just sautéed in. (*Leave the excess broth in the large pot to add flavor to the noodles later. *You can reserve 2 cups if you'd like. In case your soup comes out too thick for you personally, you can use it to thin it a bit to how you like it.)
- Continue adding to the small pot, the potatoes and chicken base, and bring to a low boil, covered, until potatoes are done. About 8 - 10 minutes. Check for tenderness.
- Add 1½ cups of the heavy cream, Velveeta, white cheddar, pulled chicken, fresh parsley, chopped and thawed frozen spinach that has been drained and squeezed dry. Heat to a simmer, add ½ cup of the heavy cream mixed with 3 Tbl. cornstarch plus 1 tablespoon cold water, simmer until thickened, just a few minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Add salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In the second large pot with excess broth, add 3 - 4 quarts water. Heat to a rolling boil , add 1 Tb. salt, add noodles and cook according to package directions. (20 minutes at a rolling boil.) Drain well, add to small pot. Gently fold in to mix evenly.
- Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish each with a small spoon of sour cream, and chopped crispy peppered bacon.
- *Don't thin the soup the next day though it will seem too thick. It will thin out and get creamy again when reheated. Reheat in microwave at 50%, stirring occasionally.
- Only add some of the 2 cups reserved broth if you prefer a thinner soup. Otherwise freeze the reserved two cups chicken broth for a later use.