This recipe for tortilla soup is a clear winner.

The average rating was 9.6 on a scale of 1 to 10. It would be hard to beat this rating. Plus, it is really easy to make! Of my 10 tasters 5 of them had eaten tortilla soup before, and all 5 that had eaten it before said this recipe was better than any tortilla soup they had eaten before.

All ingredients are available at HEB grocery stores in the Rio Grande Valley, and should be available at most large grocers. Of special interest is a dried pepper called the chili Pasilla (or chili negro) pepper, so named because they are almost charcoal black when roasted. It is a rather long (6 to 8 inch) pepper which has a wonderful aroma and is mild to medium in heat – similar to a Poblano pepper. It is the dried form of Chilaca chili. If you can not locate Pasilla chilis, you might enjoy experimenting with other dried peppers, such as the chili Ancho, a dried poblano pepper, or possibly a couple of dried chili Cascavel – Guajillo peppers.

A word about using dried chilis. Since they are dried in the open or outside, many people recommend washing them. You can wipe them off with a damp paper towel, or you can rinse them under running water. In preparing them, you will almost always toast them and sometimes re-hydrate them in hot water. If you re-hydrate them in hot water that would be the same as washing.

The other interesting ingredient is a spice called Epazote – available as a fresh herb in the produce department at HEB. It is sometimes called Mexican Tea. If unavailable as a fresh herb, dried Epazote is available online and can also be used. If not available, do not worry. The soup is tasty enough, and sprinkling some diced cilantro on it when servicing would be great

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