Wednesday Quickie – Chicken Noodle Soup with Fennel & Scallions

Dear Josie’s,

I love your delicious Chicken Noodle soup when I don’t feel right, the fennel and scallions you have really brings it home. But why does it have to cost me $1,000 / oz?! I don’t feel the love!

So, I figured out the next best thing – a quickie version of your soup. Hope you don’t mind.


Branching Owl

Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Who wants to be chopping up stuff with a runny nose?! To save even more time, buy pre-chopped organic vegetables – Whole Foods NYC has some in their Produce section.

Ingredients (4 Servings)

– 3 Stalks Celery Chopped

– 2 Carrots Sliced (or Chopped if carrots are large)

– 1 Onion Chopped

– 1 Fennel – White Part Only, Sliced in Thin Wedges

– 1 lbs Chicken Breast Tenderloin cubed

– 1 32 oz box of Organic Chicken Stock

– 4 Stalks Scallions – Green and White Parts, Sliced

– Salt and Pepper to taste

– Macaroni Noodles


– In a large stock pot, bring chicken stock to a boil on med to high heat.

– Throw in sliced fennel, celery, carrots, & onions in boiling stock. Lower to medium heat and cook for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

– Once vegetables are tender, place cubed chicken tenderloin in soup stock. Continue to cook for about 30 minutes or so until chicken is cooked through but not overdone. Stir occasionally.

– While the soup is cooking, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and cook your noodles until al dente – about 8 minutes

– Few minutes before serving, stir in the sliced scallions and macaroni. Salt and pepper to taste. Voila!


– I would store soup and macaroni separately (toss macaroni in some olive oil to prevent clumping)

All Souped Up – My Mealku Recipe

Soups are one of my favorite foods throughout the year! With the right ingredients, you can have the perfect one-pot meal with protein, vegetables, and carbs.  With the Northeast Fall / Winter already hitting NYC hard this year with Sandy and Nor’easter, it has left many of my fellow New Yorkers cold & hungry.

During the aftermath of Sandy, without transit, I struggled to find a way to help our friends in Brooklyn / downtown – I especially wanted to contribute the way I know best, by cooking and feeding!  Kid you not, soon after I arrived at my Upper West Side building I saw a flyer encouraging us “Uptown folks” to share a meal with our downtown neighbors at no cost!

The organization is MealKu –  The Home Made Cooperative. I quickly signed up, posted my “signature” winter “Italian Sausage & Tortellini Soup”, received a confirmation email that it was “ordered” and got a call for next day pick-up.  They provided me with the containers needed (4 of these nifty bags were more than enough for a 12 person soup – wow!!!) and delivered to Red Hook Initiative.  Easy peasy – THANK YOU MEALKU!

Here’s the original recipe from Epicurious. This soup is incredibly flexible – I have made it with chicken stock, without green pepper, no dried herbs or parmesan cheese (for those who are lactose intolerant) and it is still fantastic!  Below are my modifications – 6 servings. I would HIGHLY recommend using a mandolin slicer – here’s the one I use


  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 cups beef stock + 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (about 3/4 pound OR to save time, you can also buy canned chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium-sized green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (don’t skip this! adds a wonderful layer of complexity and richness)
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 8 to 10 ounces purchased frozen cheese tortellini (I have also used mushroom ravioli, yum!)
  • Roughly separate the sausage in chunks, sauté the Italian sausage in heavy Dutch oven (with a drizzle of olive oil) over medium-high heat until cooked through, crumbling with back of spoon, about 10 minutes.
  • Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large bowl. Add onion and garlic to Dutch oven and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Return sausage to Dutch oven. Add stock, tomatoes, tomato sauce, zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, wine, basil.
  • Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the amount of tortellini or pasta you would eat in a separate pot.  Ladle soup into bowls. Add cooked tortellini and serve!

This soup can be prepared 2 days ahead (tastes better next day anyway), freezes and warms up fantastically for those single cooks out there.

What is your favorite winter soup?