In 2001 I attempted to duplicate Max & Erma's (well-known mid-west restaurant chain) chicken tortilla soup. It elicits favorable compliments every time that I serve it. Rather than prepare a time-consuming cream/milk base, I chose to use condensed soups. With the addition of the other ingredients, the end result is a tasty, spicy, flavorful southwestern soup.
- 2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
- 2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans Campbell's condensed cream of celery soup
- 2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans Campbell's cheddar cheese soup
- 2 (15 ounce) cans chicken broth
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup picante salsa (Pace brand medium hot)
- 1 (4 1/2 ounce) can green chilies (Ortega brand)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon red new mexico chile powder (NOTE -- This is not the same as ordinary red chili powder. It can often be found in specialty foods)
- salt and pepper, to your taste
- 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 4 cooked chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
- 10 flour tortillas
- 1 1⁄2 cups vegetable oil
- 1⁄2 lb colby cheese
- In a large (8-10 quart) stockpot combine and whisk together until smooth all eight cans of soup.
- Add chicken broth. Add tomatoes, salsa, green chiles, onion, garlic, chile powder, salt and pepper. Bring all ingredients to a full boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
- Add cilantro and chicken breast chunks. Simmer another hour.
- While soup is simmering, make your soup toppings: Cut flour tortillas into small thin strips. Heat oil and deep fry tortilla strips until lightly browned. Shred cheese.
- To serve: Ladle soup into bowls, top with shredded cheese and fried tortilla strips.