Scarborough Fair Soup

Quartet of classic herbs harmonize
By / Photography By Christina Richey | June 15, 2011


1. Heat a soup pot over medium high heat.
2. Add the extra-virgin olive oil to the heated pot.
3. Add vegetables to the pot and sauté until tender, about 10–15 minutes. Do not brown.
4. While vegetables cook, chop the raw chicken, herbs and garlic.
5. Add canned tomatoes with liquid, garlic, herbs and sugar to the vegetables in the pot. Stir to combine.
6. Add chicken broth and white wine to the pot and bring to a full boil.
7. Add the chopped chicken tenders to the pot.
8. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 more minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: To make this a vegetarian soup, use vegetable stock in place of the chicken broth and eliminate the chicken.

About the Dish...

I like to listen to music, particularly oldies, when I am cooking.

One day when I wanted to fix something light for dinner, I put on music, surveyed the kitchen and found the makings for a nutritious, fresh soup already on hand. There were odds and ends of vegetables and some chicken in the refrigerator. My fresh herbs were growing well, and canned or boxed chicken broth is always on the shelf in my house.

I started chopping and dicing while Simon and Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair" was playing. The iconic line "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme" provided a bit of inspiration—they happened to be among my available fresh herbs, and I added all four to the soup.

It's a standing joke in our family that if they like something I've cooked without using a recipe, they better enjoy it because they'll probably never have it again. I seldom write down ingredients or steps. Lots of good dishes or meals never get fixed again. But thanks to Simon and Garfunkel's song, I always remember what the herbs are in this soup. It's become one of our favorites.


  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound of raw chicken tenders, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces canned, diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 5 cups chicken broth (store bought or homemade)
  • 3–4 tablespoons white wine
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
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