Homemade chicken noodle soup is well known as a panacea for whatever ails you, but the time it takes to pull it together is not always within our grasp.
Many chefs and food writers will try to convince you how easy it is to make your own homemade broth or stock. I'm not one of them. I love doing it... once in a while. When I have the time. And while it is not difficult in terms of skill needed, it takes a certain amount of preparation, a lot of ingredients and some time. Which is to say, it's a bit of a production.
So for the days where homemade broth is not happening (for me, most days), I turn time and time again to C, and I'm very satisfied.
In this soup, even more shortcuts are taken: rotisserie chicken provides not only the meat for the soup, but the rest of the chicken enhances the broth so it really tastes like a rich chicken soup. Finally, I use ramen noodles, which cook up in minutes, then are added to the hot soup. Ramen is kind of all the rage these days, and it's interesting that what's being heralded as the greatest thing to happen to soup in all kinds of Asian restaurants also is available for pennies in the supermarket.
The trick here is to ignore the salty flavor packets that come with the noodles. The noodles will pick up the flavor from the soup itself, and you get to control the seasonings.
Easy chicken ramen noodle soup
Start to finish: 45 minutes (20 minutes active)
1 small rotisserie chicken
6 cups (1 1/2 quarts) low-sodium chicken broth or stock
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into small chunks
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
Two 3-ounce packets ramen noodles (any flavor — the flavor packets get tossed)
1 teaspoon dried dill
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Remove all of the meat from the chicken. Set aside the skin and bones. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.
In a large pot over medium, combine the chicken bones and skin, the broth, carrots, celery and onion. Bring to a simmer, partially covered. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill another large pot with water, salt it lightly, then bring to a boil. Add the ramen noodles, breaking them up a bit (discard the flavor packet) and cook, stirring to separate the noodles, until just barely tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and leave in the colander. Retain the empty cooking pot.
Once the broth has simmered for 20 minutes, strain it into the noodle cooking pot, discarding the solids (including the vegetables). Add the dill and shredded chicken, then return to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cooked noodles, then ladle into serving bowls.
Nutrition information per serving: 470 calories; 120 calories from fat (26 percent of total calories); 14 g fat (4.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 205 mg cholesterol; 860 mg sodium; 23 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 63 g protein.