Every once in a while, we go to our local Max & Erma’s because…well, frankly, the kid’s love their $1 ice cream sundae bar, and I like their warm, baked-to-order chocolate chip cookies (hey, when in doubt, have dessert first).  
Sorry Max & Erma, but our kidlets don’t really like anything ELSE on the kid’s menu (think: chicken fingers, corn dogs, mini pizzas, and other creepiness), and I can’t say my husband and I are real crazy about anything they offer either… EXCEPT, {and this is a big except} –except their Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup.  

Have you had it?  Oh, you really must.  Just go there, get the soup, get the cookies, and go home.  You’ll thank me later.

And while I make Chicken (or Black Bean) Tortilla Soup very often here here in our home, I always make it as the traditional broth-style soup that most of us are familiar with.  And hey, it’s not like the regular version isn’t totally delish and filling AND low-fat to boot…(ahem)…though I’m not so sure it actually qualifies as low-fat after we pile our soup bowls with cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips…
Add all that and some fresh pico de gallo and it’s a super satisfying meal.

But sometimes…
Sometimes when the calendar says it’s Spring and Easter is in 4 days, but you are STILL  getting “snow,” “snow showers,” chance of snow,” “snow flurries,” and (earlier this week) 6 inch dumpings of snow–well, the regular “good enough” chicken tortilla soup that you had on the menu just doesn’t cut it.  

Everything in you demands middle-of-winter comfort food.

And that’s when it’s time to bust out the butter and the heavy cream and Max & Erma it up it little bit.  

The result is a soup that’s creamy and comforting and filling, and still full of all that southwest flavor that makes it a classic.  The bonus? It’s done in 30 minutes.
So go on and give it a try.  It’ll make the still-winter-weather seem just a bit more bearable I promise.

Max & Erma’s Style Chicken Tortilla Soup 

4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 14 oz can Tomato Sauce
1 14 oz can Petite Diced Tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth if desired)
1 cup frozen corn
1 can of black beans, or 1 cup shredded or diced chicken breast (great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Garnish with:
Fresh squeezed lime (makes all the difference!)
Pico de gallo (make a whole batch to serve with your chips?)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream
Tortilla Chips (naturally)

Heat butter and oil in large soup pot.
Add diced peppers and onion.  Cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add flour and ground cumin and stir to coat.
Stir continuously while cooking another 3 minutes or so, scraping bottom of pan with spoon to prevent burning.
Add diced tomatoes (with liquid), tomato sauce, and broth.

Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes before adding corn, beans and/or chicken.

Simmer another 5-10 minutes then remove from heat.

Stir in cheese to thicken, then add heavy cream and chopped cilantro.

Garnish and serve hot on a cold day.

As with most soups, this one will taste even better the next day– if there are any leftovers.

3 thoughts on “Max & Erma’s Style Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. Crafty Homeschool Mama

    Oh my goodness, I am SO GLAD! 😀 yay
    And don’t feel bad at all for asking about my non-archived recipes. I am always so behind in blog-land and part of the reason for that is that I am moving to a new site here shortly and I have so little motivation for keeping this one up to date 😉 I am so glad you and your friends liked the soup. xo ~Jo

  2. Tobey

    This was a huge hit at the party I took it to today! Everyone asked for the recipe. Thanks for sharing it (and making me look good 😉 )

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