This Copy Cat Max and Erma’s Chicken Tortilla Soup is cheesy, has a nice strong kick at the end, and is filled with hunks of tender chicken.
Have I told you before how much I love soup?
Well, I do.
And Chicken Tortilla Soup just so happens to be one of my all time favorites.
But there’s this problem. You see, I have this thing with tortilla soup.
I like Max and Erma’s Chicken Tortilla Soup.
And only Max and Erma’s Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Max and Erma’s is a chain restaurant that started right here in Columbus. We live about 5 minutes away from the original location, which is a great place to catch a football or basketball game. The Mr. loves the burgers. I love the chicken tortilla soup. We both love the warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies.
They even have a burger based on the tortilla soup which is served with, you guessed it, a bowl of the soup for dipping. That’s right. They take a juicy burger loaded with spicy pepper jack cheese and tortilla strips then give you a bowl of spicy, cheesy soup to dunk it in.
Um, yes please. Sign me up. I’d like that in my face every day.
But here’s the thing. I’ve never wanted to make tortilla soup myself. In my mind, if it wasn’t Max and Erma’s, it wasn’t worth eating.
But then I found a Copy Cat Max and Erma’s Tortilla Soup recipe on Brown Eyed Baker.
This was fantastic news for several reasons:
A. This soup tastes remarkably close to the original. It’s cheesy, has a nice strong kick at the end, and is filled with hunks of tender chicken. I might even go so far as to say it’s better than the original. (Forgive me Max. And also Erma.)
B. I learned that chicken tortilla soup actually has tortillas in it. (Imagine that!) This soup owes at least part of it’s thick, creamy texture to the bits of tortillas that are cooked right along with the veggies.
C. It’s easy to make. If you have an extra chicken breast or rotisserie chicken around, this soup can be made in about 45 minutes, and most of that is hands off simmer time. That’s less time than it takes to drives to Max and Erma’s and order it yourself (even if you do only live 5 minutes away).
D. I can make this stuff by the VAT. No more being limited to a bowl here and there. This stuff can be made en masse then enjoyed for days on end.
Menu for the week? Planned.
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup chopped yellow onion
- ½ a red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 Anaheim pepper, minced, seeds included
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 large boneless chicken breast, cooked and cut into bit size pieces
- 8 oz. mild cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 corn tortillas, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ cup canned diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
- Tortilla strips or chips, for garnish
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, and garlic and let cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
- Dissolve the cornstarch in the chicken broth then add it to the pot. Add the chicken cheese, chopped tortillas, lime juice, diced tomatoes, cumin, cayenne, oregano, and salt. Increase the heat to medium high and stir frequently as the cheese melts. You may also want to run a spatula along the bottom of the pan occasionally to ensure the cheese isn't sticking to the bottom.
- When the cheese is melted and the soup begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips and fresh cilantro.
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker who thanks Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3