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Soups

Good job. You just found copycat recipes for all of your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV host, Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home. See if Todd has hacked your favorite soups here. New recipes added every week.

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    Score: 4.59. Votes: 51

    In Zagat's 1995 New York City Restaurant Survey, Le Cirque 2000, one of the city's most upscale restaurants, received a 25 rating out of a possible 30. In the same guide, Al "The Soup Nazi" Yeganeh's Soup Kitchen International scored an impressive 27. That put the Soup Nazi's eatery in 14th place among the city's best restaurants for that year.

    It was common to see lines stretching around the corner and down the block as hungry patrons waited for their cup of one of five daily hot soup selections. Most of the selections changed every day, but of the three days that I was there, the Mexican Chicken Chili recipe was always on the menu. The first two days it was sold out before I got to the front of the line. But on the last day I got lucky: "One extra-large Mexican Chicken Chili, please." Hand over money, move to the extreme left. 

    Here is a hack for what has become one of the Soup Nazi's most popular culinary masterpieces. If you like, you can substitute turkey breast for the chicken to make turkey chili, which was the soup George Costanza ordered on the show.

    Find more of my Soup Nazi hacks here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 1/9/17: Replace the 10 cups of water with 8 cups of chicken broth for a shorter simmer time and better flavor. I also like using El Pato tomato sauce (recipe calls for 1/2 cup) for a bit more heat. 

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    Score: 4.30. Votes: 10

    Menu Description: "Meaty and spicy, served piping-hot with chopped onions, shredded cheddar, and a whole jalapeño."

    When you're craving a big hot bowl of hearty chili to warm the bones and fill your belly make one that has become a classic. This hack of the Lone Star signature dish is easy-to-make, low in fat, and delicious. And if it's super brisk outside, you might want to add an additional tablespoon of diced jalapeño to the pot to aggressively stoke some internal flames.

    Check out my other clone recipes for top dishes from Lone Star Steakhouse here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 6

    If you start making black bean soup in the morning using other recipes out there, you're lucky to be slurping soup by lunchtime. That's because most recipes require dry beans that have to re-hydrate for at least a couple hours, and many recipes say "overnight." But, you know, tomorrow is just too far away when you're craving soup right now. So, for this often requested clone recipe, I sped up the process by incorporating canned black beans, rather than the dry ones. That way, once you get all the veggies chopped, you'll be souped up in just about an hour. Friday's version of this soup has a slightly smoky flavor that's easily duplicated here with just a little bit of concentrated liquid smoke flavoring found in most supermarkets. Just be sure to get the kind that says "hickory flavor."

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 11

    If you like soup that's packed with veggies, that's low in fat, and has some Southwestern punch to it, this is the soup for you. Just toss all the ingredients in a pot and simmer. Garnish with some shredded cheese and crumbled tortillas, and warm up your insides.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.08. Votes: 12

    You might not think that a tough World War II flying ace would open a restaurant called "Mimi's," but that's exactly what happened in the 70s. Arthur J. Simms flew spy missions over France during the war and helped liberate a small French town near Versailles. After the war Arthur ran the commissary at MGM studios in Hollywood, stuffing the bellies of big-time celebs like Judy Garland, Clark Gable and Mickey Rooney. He later joined his son Tom in several restaurant ventures including one called "French Quarter" in West Hollywood. This was the prototype for the French-themed Mimi's Cafe. In 1978, the first Mimi's opened in Anaheim, California. Today there's over 90 Mimi's in the chain with a new one opening every other week; all of them serving this great French onion soup that's topped with not one, not two...three different cheeses. Oui! 

    Can't get enough of Mimi's Cafe? Check out my other clone recipes here. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    Rather than going through the tedious (and more expensive) task of steaming fresh clams and dicing up all the good parts, we can use the more affordable and convenient canned clams found in any supermarket. Just remember to not toss out the clam juice in the cans when you open them, since you'll need that flavorful liquid in the first step.

    Click here to see if I've cloned more of your favorites from Red Lobster.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.80. Votes: 5

    This restaurant boasts a unique "Texas roadhouse" ambiance. When you walk into any Lone Star restaurant, the first thing you'll notice is the crackling peanut shells beneath your feet. When seated you'll get your own free bucket of peanuts to munch on, and feel free to toss the shells onto the wood plank floors. Western music plays over the speakers, and every hour or so the wait staff breaks into a honky tonk line dance next to your table.

    The spicy black bean soup is a popular item on the Lone Star menu. Here's a way to make a version of your own that can be served as an appetizer or as a meal in itself. It's great with a garnish of freshly diced red onion, jalapenos, and sour cream on top.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.50. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "A unique presentation of an Australian favorite. Reckon!" 

    Here's a great way to start off dinner. The menu claims the Walkabout Soup is an Australian favorite. While that may or may not be true, this creamy onion soup is at least a favorite of Outback Steakhouse regulars. If you can boil water and slice onions, you'll have no problem with this easy-to-make version of the chain's top-secret formula.

    How about some Bushman Bread, and Alice Springs Chicken to finish off your meal? Find all of my Outback Steakhouse clone recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 8

    There's no chocolate in it. Or coffee. Or Coca-Cola. The ingredient rumors for the Skyline Chili secret recipe are plentiful on the Internet, but anyone can purchase cans of Skyline chili from the company and find the ingredients listed right on the label: beef, water, tomato paste, dried torula yeast, salt, spices, cornstarch, and natural flavors. You can trust that if chocolate were included in the secret recipe, the label would reflect it—important information for people with a chocolate allergy. All it takes to re-create the unique flavor of Skyline is a special blend of easy-to-find spices plus beef broth and a few other not-so-unusual ingredients. Let the chili simmer for an hour or so, then serve it up on its own or in one of the traditional Cincinnati-style serving suggestions (the "ways" they call 'em) with the chili poured over spaghetti noodles, topped with grated Cheddar cheese and other good stuff: 

         3-Way: Pour chili over cooked spaghetti noodles and top with grated Cheddar cheese. 
         4-Way: Add a couple teaspoons of grated onion before adding the cheese. 
         5-Way: Add cooked red beans over the onions before adding the cheese.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

     

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    Score: 4.77. Votes: 26

    This soup happens to be one of Chili's most raved-about items, and the subject of many a recipe search here on the site. Part of the secret in crafting your clone is the addition of masa harina—a corn flour that you'll find in your supermarket near the other flours, or where all the Mexican foodstuffs are stocked.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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