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Max & Erma's Tortilla Soup

By Todd Wilbur

Score: 4.14. Votes: 14
In stock (9869 items available)
  • $0.79

After years of fielding requests to clone the delicious signature soup from this 100-unit chain, I was finally able to secure a couple carry-out samples from Max & Erma's at the Cleveland airport while I was there on biz trip. Wrapped in a bundle of napkins and tucked into a carry-on bag, my samples arrived home in Vegas still warm and ready for analysis. For this one you'll need some white and dark fillets of chicken and a half pound hunk of cheese to shred. It's all that Cheddar cheese that makes this tortilla soup so good. And you'll definitely want to shred your own, since the pre-shredded stuff—while also more expensive—just doesn't melt as well in the chicken broth as cheese that's been shredded just before it goes into the pot.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

Update 2/8/17: This recipe may work better if you first make a sauce with the cheese before adding it to the soup. After step #2, combine 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup of milk until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove it from the heat and stir in the cheese until it's melted. Keep the cheese sauce warm over low heat until you need it. Reduce the cornstarch to 1 tablespoon and dissolve it into the chicken broth in a large saucepan. Add the chicken, sauteed vegetables, and remaining ingredients for the soup (except the cheese sauce) and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese sauce and simmer the soup for another 10 minutes while you bounce to step #4.

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Score: 4.14. Votes: 14
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Melinda Beggrow
Sep 6, 2014, 22:00

This is better than Max & Ermas

May 11, 2009, 22:00

I did not think this was as much like M & E's soup as it should have been. 1) It wasn't thick enough. 2)It wasn't spicy enough. 3)It wasn't 'stringy' like M & E's Tortilla Soup. First, I followed the recipe. Then made these additions. I added the following ingredients to thicken, enrich, and spice up the soup. More Cornstarch, 1/4 cup Creme Fraiche for richness, and about 1 1/2 oz of Monterey Jack Cheese w/ Jalapeno. I would suggest using a processed sharp cheese for the cheddar as it is less likely to curdle. You aren't familiar with Creme Fraiche? It's a French preparation you can make at home. Use 1 cup heavy cream and 3 tablespoons plain yogurt. Let sit in a warm 100 degree oven or any place you can keep it warm for 8 hours. Then refrigerate. It will thicken as it chills. It has a slight sweet-tart flavor and will not curdle under heat (but do not boil).